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Craig Burnett - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Craig Burnett Craig Burnett

Associate Professor of Political Science | Hofstra University


Professor Burnett's research focuses on state and local government, urban politics, political behavior, and electoral institutions







Polling and Election 2016: HU Office Hours with Craig Burnett CraigBurnett FIOS1 NewYork - Nassau County 2017 Elections Prof. Craig Burnett on Ranked-Choice Voting




Craig Burnett, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. He received his B.A. in political science and history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on state and local government, urban politics, political behavior, electoral institutions, and research methods. His research has appeared in several journals, including Political Communication, Electoral Studies, Urban Affairs Review, and the Minnesota Law Review.

Professor Burnett regularly teaches courses on American government and politics, state and local government, urban politics, public opinion, political behavior, research methods, and statistics.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (7)

Nassau and Suffolk County and New York State Politics

Ranked Choice Voting (Instant Runoff Voting)

American Politics

Urban Politics

Political Behavior

Direct Democracy

“Electoral Systems” Research

Education (3)

University of California, San Diego: Ph.D., Political Science 2010

University of California, San Diego: M.A., Political Science 2006

University of California, Santa Barbara: B.A., Political Science and History 2003

Media Appearances (16)

Voters supported progressive policies on ballot initiatives. Republicans are pushing back.

NBC News  online


Craig Burnett, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and program director of the Kalikow School Poll, was interviewed by several news outlets about topics including Republican resistance to ballot initiatives as well as the use of ranked-choice voting in the NYC mayoral race: NBC News (also carried on MSN.com and Yahoo News, among other outlets): “Voters supported progressive policies on ballot initiatives. Now Republicans are pushing back.”

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New York experiments with new voting system in chaotic mayoral race: Breakthrough or disaster?

Salon  online


Political science professor Craig Burnett discusses the use of ranked-choice voting in the NYC mayoral race.

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Hofstra poll: President Joe Biden has 52.6% favorable rating

Newsday  print


More than half of American voters approve of President Joe Biden’s job performance, and nearly two-thirds support the American Rescue Plan to help restore the economy, Biden's first legislative victory, according to Hofstra University's new Kalikow Center Poll. The poll, which was obtained by Newsday, found 52.6% of Americans gave Biden a positive rating, evidence of a "slim majority" backing the 46th president as he marks his 100th day in office Thursday. Kalikow School Poll program director Craig Burnett, who prepared the poll, noted in an interview with Newsday that Biden's positive ratings were lower than former President Barack Obama's in his early days in office.

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NY to lose one House seat in 2022 — falling 89 residents shy of losing none

Newsday  print


Associate Professor of Political Science Craig Burnett was interviewed by Newsday about New York losing a House seat in 2021 after the release of the Census reapportionment numbers.

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N.Y. Wealth Tax and Budget Deadline Converge With Cuomo Scandals

Bloomberg News  online


This story looks at how Governor Cuomo has been politically weakened by the scandals he is facing and whether New York lawmakers could seize the opportunity to push their own budget agenda, including a more progressive tax policy targeting the ultra-wealthy.

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NYC’s Next Mayor Could Be the Second Choice of Most Voters

Bloomberg  online


Political science professor Craig Burnett, PhD, was quoted in a Bloomberg article about new balloting processes for the New York City mayoral race primaries. The article also discusses the impact of ranked voting on likely candidates such as former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

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Hofstra poll: Suburban voters back Biden, Sanders for president over Trump

Newsday  print


Suburban voters prefer Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders over President Donald Trump, but Trump holds a comfortable lead among independents, according to Hofstra University's new Kalikow Center Poll. Craig Burnett, a Hofstra political science professor and Kalikow School Poll program director, said Trump was, "doing fairly well with independents, and in the suburbs. Nobody’s going to walk away with this thing, at least right now.” But the coronavirus “crisis really is going to be a perilous task for this administration,” Burnett said.

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Coronavirus shakes up the presidential campaign

Newsday  print


Craig Burnett, associate professor of political science, was interviewed by Newsday for an article about the impact coronavirus may have on the 2020 presidential race. He discussed the issue of campaigning and how political rallies have moved from large venues to online forums. “It’s sort of a part of the presidential election to expect these rallies, so to what extent the absence of rallies is going to matter, I’m not sure it’s a whole lot,” Dr. Burnett told Newsday. “It’s not like Biden is some unknown person. Most people have a good sense of who he is.”

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Queens Democratic Primary for District Attorney Too Close to Call

The Wall Street Journal  print


Assistant Professor of Political Science Craig Burnett was interviewed for the Wall Street Journal article, “With Eyes on New District Attorney, Queens Voters Head to Polls.” Whoever wins June 25th’s Democratic primary for the Queens DA is believed likely to win the election this fall.

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State Legislatures Drag Their Feet On Voter-Approved Ballot Initiatives

Huff Post  online


Although a number of progressive ballot measures were passed during the midterm elections, they have yet to be take effect. These include restoring voting rights to felons in Florida and implementing the medical marijuana law in Utah. Professor Burnett said, “Ballot measures are often at odds with the preferences of lawmakers. After all, if lawmakers thought the policy was such a great idea, they would have enacted it themselves.”

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Liberal 3rd party not tied to TV star in NY gov race

Associated Press  print


Craig Burnett, assistant professor of political science, was interviewed by the Associated Press about Cynthia Nixon challenging Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in the 2018 Democratic primary. While Cuomo is vulnerable on some issues and Nixon is recognizable to the public, she has a tough road ahead of her because: “He has the money. He has the know-how. He has the campaign structure. It will be a huge battle for her.” The article says that although the Working Families Party has endorsed Nixon as the Democratic nominee, the organization’s leaders said that they will meet with her if she loses the September primary to find a way to avoid splitting the liberal vote in November.

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Nassau County Elections 2017

WABC-TV Eyewitness News  tv


Professor Burnett discusses the results of local elections and voter turnout in Nassau County.

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Long Island Election Results 2017

Fios 1 News  tv


Craig Burnett, PhD, assistant professor of political science, appeared on Fios 1 News to discuss the results of local races on Long Island, which included several big wins for Democrats.

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Logistics could put ranked-choice voting on hold in 2018

Associated Press  online


Maine’s new ranked-choice voting system will be used for races for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Maine Senate and Maine House. Craig Burnett, a Hofstra University political science professor who has studied ranked-choice voting, said there are pluses and minuses to the system that Maine has chosen. Some people will love it, and others won’t, he said.

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Nassau County Executive’s Arrest Raises Democratic Hopes of State Senate Gains

The New York TImes  online


Craig Burnett, an assistant professor of political science at Hofstra who has studied the Senate races, said that Mr. Marcellino and Mr. Venditto’s seats should be safely Republican, but that the arrests could complicate that, even if the incumbents are state officials and not county. “Voters don’t necessarily make these distinctions,” Professor Burnett said, adding, “They know that there’s people on the ballot and that’s the only way they have to express themselves.”

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Third-Party Candidates Don’t Have to Be Spoilers

Wall Street Journal  print


An alternative ballot system used in some local elections allows votes to be shifted to another choice if the first choice doesn’t win.

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Event Appearances (2)

Blank Slate Media

"Disinformation, Fake News & Social Media"  Virtual


Long Island Business News

"The First 100 Days of Biden's Presidency"  Virtual


Sample Talks (1)

Conference presentations

“What Do Voters Know About Ballot Measures?” - Previous version presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association “Do Nonpartisan Ballots Racialize Candidates Evaluations in Low-Information Elections?” with Vladimir Kogan. - Previous version presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association “The Distributive Politics of Potholes,” with Vladimir Kogan. - Previous version presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association “Common Knowledge: Putting Political Knowledge into Context,” with Mathew D. McCubbins. - Previous version presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association “Team Spirit: The Role of Political Parties in Local Politics,” with Vladimir Kogan. “The Limits of Statehouse Endorsements on Opinions toward Referendums,” with Janine A. Parry. - Previous version presented at the 2012 State Politics and Policy Conference

Research Focus (1)

Direct Democracy, State Politics,

• Voting behavior • Urban and suburban politics • Election law and electoral systems • Campaigns and elections • Judicial elections • Political economy • Public opinion • Media and politics • American politics • Research methods • Statistics

Research Grants (5)

Global Citizenship Grant

University of North Carolina Wilmington 



Charles L. Cahill Award

University of North Carolina Wilmington 



Undergraduate Research Grant

Appalachian State University 



Survey Experiment on Ballot Framing and Information Shortcuts

Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) 


NSF Grant 0818839

Mark Twain Fellowship

University of California, San Diego, 


Courses (1)



Articles (3)

The Politics of Potholes: Service Quality and Retrospective Voting in Local Elections

The Journal of Politics

2016 By conditioning their support for political incumbents on observed performance outcomes, voters can motivate elected officials to represent their interests faithfully while in office. Whether elections serve this function in subnational US government remains unclear, however, because much of the existing research on retrospective voting in these contexts focuses on outcomes that are not obviously salient to voters or over which the relevant government officials have limited influence. In this study, we examine one outcome—the quality of local roads—that is both salient and unquestionably under the control of city government...

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Exploring the difference in participants’ factual knowledge between online and in-person survey modes

Research & Politics

2016 Over the past decade, an increasing number of scholars and professionals have turned to the Internet to gather samples of subjects for research ranging from public opinion surveys to experiments in the social sciences. While there has been a focus on whether online samples are representative and accurate, fewer studies examine the behavioral differences between individuals who participate in surveys and experiments on a computer versus in-person. Here, I use an experiment to gauge whether respondents who self-complete surveys online are more likely to register higher knowledge scores compared with respondents who self-complete surveys with pen and paper in a laboratory...

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The Dilemma of Direct Democracy

Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy

2010 The dilemma of direct democracy is that voters may not always be able to make welfare-improving decisions. Arthur Lupia's seminal work has led us to believe that voters can substitute voting cues for substantive policy knowledge. Lupia, however, emphasized that cues were valuable under certain conditions and not others...

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