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Gregg Murray - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Gregg Murray Gregg Murray

Professor of Political Science | Augusta University


Murray's research focuses on political behavior and psychology with specific interests in voter mobilization.







3Qs with Gregg Murray on the difficulty of electing third-party candidates Dr. Gregg Murray on Caveman Politics: Hungry Games: How Does Hunger Affect Your Politics? by Gregg Murray two men talking about politics




Murray is a professor of political science at Augusta University. His research focuses on political behavior with specific interests in
voter mobilization and turnout. His research has appeared in journals such as American Politics Research, Expert Systems with
Applications, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Political Marketing, Political Psychology, Political Research Quarterly, Politics
and the Life Sciences, Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and Social Science Research. He is also the Editor-in-Chief
of Politics and the Life Sciences, an international, peer-reviewed journal published by Cambridge University Press. He teaches courses on political behavior and research methods. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 2003.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Government Responses to COVID-19

Research Methods

Political Behavior

U.S. Government

Public Opinion

Public Policy


Affiliations (3)

  • Augusta University Center for Bioethics and Health Policy : Affiliated Faculty
  • Association for Politics and the Life Sciences
  • Psychology Today

Media Appearances (4)

How to raise a political mini-me

Chicago Tribune  


The bad news for those seeking to improve their odds is that most of us already marry people with compatible political values. And the bad news for men is that if the parents do differ politically, the kids are somewhat more likely to end up agreeing with their mom, according to Gregg R. Murray, an associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University...

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Voters Size Up 2016 Presidential Candidates: Who’s the Tallest?

The Wall Street Journal  


Height brings a distinct advantage to a political candidate, says Gregg R. Murray, an associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, reflecting what he thinks is a sense many people have that a taller leader is a stronger one. “In particular, during times of threat, we have a preference for physically formidable leaders,” said Mr. Murray, who started studying public attitudes toward presidential heights five years ago, inspired by a 6-foot-7 graduate student...

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Tanned and toned, but ‘bodybuilder’ Bobby Jindal totaled in push-up contest

The American Bazaar  


Forget the ‘Presidential Height Index’ created by Gregg R. Murray and J. David Schmitz which observed that taller candidates have won 58% of US presidential contests between 1789 and 2008. That index didn’t help former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, at 6 feet 4 inches, to win the presidency, in 2012. If he had done so, he would have tied Abraham Lincoln for being the tallest president. Barack Obama became president again, despite being fully three inches shorter than Santorum...

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Caveman politics: why it's height that really matters in the corridors of power

The Independent  


"Some traits and instincts that may have been acquired through evolution continue to manifest themselves in modern life," said Gregg R Murray, political science professor and co-author of the report. "We believe similar traits exist in politics."...

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Articles (7)

A second look at partisanship’s effect on receptivity to social pressure to vote

Frontiers in Psychology

2020 Social pressure can exert a powerful, but sometimes counterproductive, influence on compliance with the social norm of voting. Scholars have tested several implicit social pressure techniques to reduce negative reactions to these methods. Among the most innovative is the use of ‘watching eyes’ in voter mobilization messages.

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An Experimental Examination of Demand-Side Preferences for Female and Male National Leaders

Frontiers in Psychology

2020 Females constitute a far smaller proportion of political leaders than their proportion in the general population. Leading demand- and supply side explanations for this phenomenon account for some of the variance but leave a great deal unexplained. In an effort to account for additional variance, this research evaluates the issue informed by the biological theory of evolution by natural selection, a foundational explanation for the diversity and function of living organisms.

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Perceptions of political leaders

Politics and the Life Sciences

2017 Partisan identification is a fundamental force in individual and mass political behavior around the world. Informed by scholarship on human sociality, coalitional psychology, and group behavior, this research argues that partisan identification, like many other group-based behaviors, is influenced by forces of evolution. If correct, then party identifiers should exhibit adaptive behaviors when making group-related political decisions.

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I Only Have Eyes for You: Does Implicit Social Pressure Increase Voter Turnout?

Political Psychology

2016 Get-out-the-vote mailers using explicit social pressure consistently increase electoral turnout; however, they often generate a negative reaction or backlash. One approach to increase turnout, yet alleviate backlash, may be to use implicit social pressure. An implicit social pressure technique that has shown promise is to display a set of eyes.

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An Experimental Test for “Backlash” Against Social Pressure Techniques Used to Mobilize Voters

American Politics Research

2012 This research explores the possibility of psychological reactance, or “backlash,” against political candidates who use social pressure to mobilize voters. There is a compelling theoretical argument and solid empirical evidence suggesting social pressure substantially increases voter turnout.

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Caveman Politics: Evolutionary Leadership Preferences and Physical Stature

Social Science Quarterly

2011 Following evolutionary psychology, we argue that physical stature matters in preferences regarding political leadership. Particularly, a preference for physically formidable leaders evolved to promote survivability in the violent human ancestral history.

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Microtargeting and Electorate Segmentation: Data Mining the American National Election Studies

Journal of Political Marketing

2010 Business marketers widely use data mining for segmenting and targeting markets. To assess data mining for use by political marketers, we mined the 1948 to 2004 American National Elections Studies data file to identify a small number of variables and rules that can be used to predict individual voting behavior, including abstention, with the intent of segmenting the electorate in useful and meaningful ways.

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