Clinton (Ph.D. Political Science, M.S. Statistics, and M.A. Economics from Stanford University) uses statistical methods to better understand political processes and outcomes. He is interested in: the politics in the U.S. Congress, public opinion, campaigns and elections, and the uses and abuses of statistical methods for understanding political phenomena. His peer-reviewed publications have appeared in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and the Annual Review of Political Science. He is an Editor-In-Chief for the Quarterly Journal of Political Science and he is currently serving on the Editorial Board of Journal of Public Policy. He is currently the Director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and a Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Poll.
Areas of Expertise (9)
Political Climate in Tennessee
Voter Behavior and Attitudes
Journal of Politics Best Paper Award (professional)
2011, For “More A Molehill than a Mountain: the Effects of the Blanket Primary on Elected Officials’ Behavior From California.” With Will Bullock.
Stanley E. Kelley Teaching Award (professional)
2009, Dept. of Politics, Princeton University
Patrick J. Fett Award (professional)
2014, for “the best paper on the scientific study of Congress and the Presidency” at 2013 MPSA
Stanford University: Ph.D., Political Science 2003
Stanford University: M.S., Statistics 2001
Stanford University: M.A., Economics 2000
University of Rochester: B.A., Political Science, Economics 1996
Political Science with High Honors, Economics with Distinction
Magna Cum Laude
- Quarterly Journal of Political Science : Editor-In-Chief
- Journal of Public Policy : Editorial Board Member
Selected Media Appearances (7)
Five States Have Already Canceled GOP Primaries. Here’s What You Should Know
"The parties are private organizations and so they can do whatever they want," Joshua Clinton, co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University, told Fortune. "They're kind of a really unique institution in our society because on the one hand they're like private clubs, but on the other hand, they run our government."
Elizabeth Warren and the Myth of Momentum
National Review online
Elizabeth Warren enters the first Democratic debate tonight hoping to capitalize on some recent good headlines. She’s gained in polls, from an average of 6 percent in March to 12 percent today. Nate Silver observes that Warren’s rise has been at Bernie Sanders’s expense. Yesterday’s Moveon.org straw poll illustrates this trend. Warren was in sixth place in December, with 6 percent. Now, among progressive activists, she’s leading the field at 38 percent. Bernie is in second with 17 percent.
Vanderbilt poll: Most Tennesseans want Glen Casada to leave office, don't support vouchers
The Tennessean online
In a statement on the poll results, Geer and fellow co-director Josh Clinton, also a political science professor, pointed to widening polarization in partisan politics in the state, an echo of what has taken place at the national level.
“We’re seeing the beginnings of a potential fracture in terms of what direction the state wants to go,” Clinton said. “On one hand, our political leaders could go all in for issues that matter to the Republican base, but which may not be reflective of the views of independents and Democrats. Or they can maintain a more consensus-based approach to policies that voters support broadly.”
The Biggest October Surprise This October Is That There's No Surprise
"We live in an era, with Trump in the White House, where every morning is a surprise."
That's what Walter Shapiro, a columnist at Roll Call and political science lecturer at Yale who has covered the last ten presidential elections, told me late last week. I had just asked him about the spate of pipe bomb devices sent to prominent members of the press and political class known for disagreeing with President Donald Trump. As of Friday, ten days before the midterm elections that will determine the party sway of the House and Senate—and, depending on whom you ask, the future of the republic—at least 14 such packages had been discovered. (That morning, police arrested a 56-year-old registered Republican named Cesar Sayoc in connection with the suspicious packages, none of which had detonated or appeared to have caused harm. He was soon charged with at least five federal crimes.)
Will Taylor Swift Endorsement Influence Senate Race?
WTVF NewsChannel5 tv
"There's no evidence that celebrities change how people vote. In some sense it could have a backlash," says Vanderbilt University Political Science Professor Josh Clinton.
America's disturbing voter-turnout crisis: How inequality extends to polling place — and why that makes our country less fair
Automatic voter registration isn’t the sexiest way to start a political revolution, but it may be the most effective. The United States lags behind the rest of the rich world in turnout, but it leads the rich world in disparity in turnout across income and education levels, which has profound effects on policy. This so-called "turnout skew" further biases policy towards the rich, even more than it already would be because of the structural advantages the rich enjoy. Bolstering turnout could lead to a self-reinforcing feedback loop in the opposite direction.
THE FOX NEWS EFFECT
Pacific Standard online
With over 1.7 million viewers each evening, Fox News has the largest viewership of any cable news network. It is also one of the most trusted sources of political information.
Selected Articles (5)
Michael W. Sances ; Joshua D. Clinton
Context: The authors examined whether participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) differed by political partisanship. Answering this question is important for understanding how contentious elite-level decision making and discourse may affect policy uptake, and the ability of the ACA to create a constituency of beneficiaries invested in its support.
Joshua D. Clinton, Andrew M. Engelhardt, and Marc J. Trussler
Notions of momentum loom large in accounts of presidential primaries despite imprecision about its meaning and measurement. Defining momentum as the impact election outcomes have on candidate support above and beyond existing trends and leveraging a rolling cross section of more than 325,000 interviews to examine daily changes in candidate support in the 2016 nomination contests reveal scant evidence that primary election outcomes uniquely affect respondents’ preferences over the competing candidates.
Joshua D. Clinton and Mark D. Richardson
Given pervasive gridlock at the national level, state legislatures are increasingly the place where notable policy change occurs. Investigating such change is difficult because it is often hard to characterise policy change and use observable data to evaluate theoretical predictions; it is subsequently unclear whether law-making explanations focusing on the US Congress also apply to state legislatures.
Courtney Kennedy, Mark Blumenthal, Scott Clement, Joshua D Clinton, Claire Durand, Charles Franklin, Kyley McGeeney, Lee Miringoff, Kristen Olson, Douglas Rivers, Lydia Saad, G Evans Witt, Christopher Wlezien
The 2016 presidential election was a jarring event for polling in the United States. Preelection polls fueled high-profile predictions that Hillary Clinton’s likelihood of winning the presidency was about 90 percent, with estimates ranging from 71 to over 99 percent. When Donald Trump was declared the winner of the presidency, there was a widespread perception that the polls failed.
Allison M. Archer & Joshua Clinton
The press is essential for creating an informed citizenry, but its existence depends on attracting and maintaining an audience. It is unclear whether supply-side effects—including those dictated by the owners of the media—influence how the media cover politics, yet this question is essential given their abilities to set the agenda and frame issues that are covered.