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Joe Phillips ’16 Goes Inside the Minds of Democrats and Republicans

He’ll be conducting research on Mood of the Nation poll this summer.

Joe Phillips ’16 (political science) is currently a political science doctoral student at Penn State. He received funding from the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Graduate Scholarship to conduct research this summer on the McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s Mood of the Nation Poll.

He’s been the Poll’s data manager for the past year and he’ll conduct more in depth analysis of the poll conducted in 2018 that sought to gain insight when  Republicans and Democrats are asked to see things from the opposite perspective.

“This particular area of research is relatively new, and for the most part, people have looked at psychological constructs and historical trends to explain why partisan tensions have risen,” Phillips says in a press release from Penn State.

“However, there is comparatively little on the types of thoughts ordinary partisans have about one another that drive that disdain, and differences in those thoughts between people. Perhaps Democrats are angry at Republicans for different reasons than Republicans are at Democrats,” he adds. 

The scholarship was created by Susan Welch, dean of their College of the Liberal Arts and a leading scholar in political science who’s authored more than 170 scholarly articles, seven monographs, and three textbooks and has been recognized as one of the most cited political scientists of her generation.