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2012 Archives

How is the battle for president going?

SMU experts analyze the fight for the White House

August 31, 2012

SMU Political Scientists Cal Jillson and Matthew Wilson comment on Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay. Jillson and Wilson, as well as other faculty experts, are available to talk about the Republican and Democratic campaigns and the political road that lies ahead:


Cal Jillson, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

"The Republican Party's principal task, humanizing Mitt Romney, was always going to be an uphill slog. Unfortunately, much of the attempt was made outside of prime time to a limited audience. While Romney's acceptance speech was well received, his passive affect when sitting with family in his box contributed rather than addressed his reputation for woodenness."

One of the nation’s foremost political experts, he regularly provides journalists thoughtful insight on Texas and U.S. politics. He is the author of the forthcoming Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy.

Cal Jillson

Matthew Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

"Romney gave a solid speech that should provide some momentum going into the fall campaign.  He will never match his running mate for rhetorical power and ability to excite the base, but he emphasized the ticket's critical message for the fall campaign: that his experience and judgment position him to fix an economy that has only deteriorated under Obama.  More interestingly, Romney finally on this night of the convention openly owned his Mormon faith, with testimonials from Church leaders and an explicit mention of his Mormon upbringing in the acceptance speech.  This reflects an important departure from his approach in earlier phases of the campaign."
"The other thing that was very clear, both from his speech, from Ryan's the night before, and from the whole tenor of the convention, is that the ticket is eager to combat the whole "war on women" narrative.  Romney talked more about his mother and her bid for office than he did about his more famous father, and that wasn't by accident."

Professor Wilson specializes in religion and politics, as well as public opinion, elections and political psychology.

Matthew Wilson
Campaign Ads and Voter Communication
  Rita Kirk, Ph.D., Professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Her knowledge of the evolving communication landscape has made her a valuable resource in analyzing trends in politics and political communication, such as that found on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and other social media. She has the ability to adapt to story topics and specializes in political and persuasive campaigns.
Rita Kirk
Polls and Surveys
  Lynne Stokes, Ph.D., Professor of Statistical Science
She is an expert in surveys, polls and sampling, as well as in non-sampling survey errors, such as errors by interviewers and respondents.
Lynn Stokes
Economy & Unemployment
  Tom Fomby, Ph.D., Professor of Economics
He can discuss the Texas economy vs. the rest of the nation, what the unemployment rate means for Texas and political promises about the economy.
Tom Fomby
  Pia Orrenius, Ph.D., Fellow at SMU's Tower Center for Political Studies
A senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, her research focuses on the border region and the causes and consequences of Mexico–U.S. migration, illegal immigration, and U.S. immigration policy. She is the author of Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization. See video of her CNN interview video icon.
Pia Orrenius
Education Issues
  David Chard, Ph.D., Professor of Education and Dean
He writes op-eds and speaks to journalists on education issues ranging from controversial textbooks to inadequate teacher training. He is an expert on best educational practices.
David Chard

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Contact SMU News and Communications at 214-768-7650 or for assistance in setting up interviews.

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