Professor David P. Redlawsk
Department of Political Science, University of Delaware

My Research
My Personal Interests

(updated 4/26/22)
(I should note that nothing on any of my web pages should be taken as any official position, policy, or statement of the University of Delaware, The Department of Political Science and International Relations, my family, my friends, or anyone else. OK -- they may represent my own opinion, in some cases.)

My Vita (updated January 2022)



UPDATE: DPTE relies on Adobe Flash which as been withdrawn, meaning that DPTE will no longer run without using downlevel software. While we are continuing to seek funding to support the rewriting of DPTE, so far we have been unable to do so, and thus DPTE is essentially non-operational.

DPTE is a methodology for studying voter decision making under conditions of limited time and information. The DPTE environment can be used in many different contexts. In the research Rick Lau and I have done on voter decision making, we have used the DPTE system to study voters and information, resulting in a number of highly cited papers and a key book, How Voters Decide. There is more about this research below. Our development of DPTE has been funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation.

The DPTE system is accessible to any serious researcher who would like to be able to use it in a research program.

To learn more about the DPTE system, go to and click on the HELP link. To apply for a Researcher ID for the system, click on the appropriate link on the page.



Kyle Mattes and I have spent a couple years working on the question of negative advertising and its role as an informtion source in elections. Our book on this project, called The Positve Case for Negative Campaigning, has been published by the University of Chicago Press.


I spent a number of years collecting data about the Iowa Caucuses, looking at how the caucus process generates voter interest and candidate strategies. This work included a couple journal publications and a book (see below). Also, I was one of a batch of "experts" who commented on Iowa in a very interesting documentary, called First Stop Iowa, by John Barron, an Australian journalist. The documentary is a very well done take on Iowa 2008, and includes interviews with the likes of George McGovern, as well as some of the 2008 candidates, and several of us "talking heads". All in all very worthwhile, and not too expensive. You can learn more from John's website.

Book from this project:

With Caroline Tolbert (Iowa) and Todd Donovan (Western Washington), I have a book on the role of the Iowa Caucuses in the presidential nominating system. The book is Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process. The book can be ordered on Amazon and other online sellers or at your favorite real-world bookstore. Additional information is available at the University of Chicago Press website and a preview is on Google Books.

Other publications:

Reforming Presidential Nominations: Rotating State Primaries or a National Primary?
with Caroline Tolbert and Daniel Bowen, PS: Political Science & Politics (2009)

Comparing Caucus and Registered Voter Support for the 2008 Presidential Candidates in Iowa
with Daniel Bowen and Caroline Tolbert, PS: Political Science & Politics (2008)

The 2002 Iowa House and Senate Elections: The More Things Change... (abstract, full text click here)
with Arthur Sanders, PS: Political Science and Politics (2003) ONLINE Symposium

Groups and Grassroot in the Iowa Caucuses (abstract, full text click here)
with Arthur Sanders, PS: Political Science and Politics (2001) ONLINE Symposium


My primary line of research focuses on how citizens process political information in order to make a voting decision. Much of the work I do is experimental. My experiments are designed to trace the information search and acquisition process as voters learn about candidates. Richard Lau, of Rutgers University, and I have built a unique dynamic information board in order to carry out these process-tracing studies. At the moment I am using this technique to examine the role of both affect and cognition is the decision process.

Books from this project:

A Citizen's Guide to the Political Psychology of Voting with Michael Habegger is meant to be an accessible and interesting exploration of what Poliotical Psychology tells us about voter decision making. In particular, it builds on How Voters Decide, updating the research and putting in the context of the 2016 election.

Rick Lau and I have published a book, How Voters Decide, with Cambridge University Press in 2006 that provides lots of information about this project. Information on the paperback version of the book is available here, and it can be ordered from Amazon. This book won the Alexander George Book Award for best book in political psychology from the International Society of Political Psychology.

I also have an edited volume, Feeling Politics, Published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2006. It's on the Palgrave site and Amazon as well, though only available in hardback.
This book came out of a conference on affect and politics I held at the University of Iowa in 2003.

Selected Papers and Publications from this project:

The Affective Tipping Point: Do Motivated Reasoners Ever "Get It"?
With Andrew Civettini and Karen Emmerson, Political Psychology 31 (August 2010)
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cognitive Heuristics
in Political Decision Making

With Richard R. Lau, American Journal of Political Science 45(October, 2001): 951
Voters, Emotions, and Memory
With Andrew Civettini, Political Psychology 30 (February 2009)

Towards a Procedurally Plausible Model of the Vote Choice
With Richard R. Lau, presented at the Midwest meeting, 2005.

What Voters Do: Voter Information Search Strategies
Political Psychology 25 (August 2004)

Hot Cognition or Cool Consideration: Testing the Theory of Motivated Reasoning
Journal of Politics 64 (November, 2002)

Motivated Reasoning and Voter Decision Making: Affect and Evaluation
Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association and at the International Society of Political Psychology, 2004.

You Must Remember This: A Test of the On-line Model of Voting
Journal of Politics 63(February, 2001): 29-58



Voting Correctly
With Richard Lau, American Political Science Review, 1997
An Exploration of Correct Voting in Recent U.S. Presidential Elections
With Richard Lau and David Anderson, American Journal of Political Science, 2008



I worked with Jay McCann (Purdue) on a project to tease out the attitudes voters and citizens have towards political corruption. The project started with an exit poll in the 2000 presidential election carried out in a number of cities across the country. In the end we had six cities where the exit poll resulted in enough data to make assessments of corruption attitudes. These cities include three small Midwestern places - Iowa City, IA, West Lafayette, IN, and Kenosha, WI, along with three large cities - New Orleans, Miami, and New York. The results provided a baseline to understand how voters condition their views of corruption on the actions being taken and how those perceptions impact voting decisions. Since that time, Jay and I have gathered additional data in a New Hampshire primary (2004) and through a national sample survey based experiment using TESS.

Papers from this project include:

Political Corruption and the Ethical Judgments of American Citizens:
Are Government Officials Held to a Higher Standard?

with Jay McCann, Paper presented at the 2006 Southern Political Science Association Meeting.

Popular Interpretations of ‘Corruption’ and their Partisan Consequences
with Jay McCann. Political Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 3, September 2005

Voter Attitudes towards Corruption and Government before and after Enron: Results from Exit Polling in a Midwestern City
Paper presented at the 2003 Midwest Meeting

How Voters See Political Corruption: Definitions and Beliefs, Causes and Consequences
With Jay McCann, presented at the 2002 Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association, and the 2002 meeting of the Midwest PSA.


I carried out exit polls in the Iowa City/Coralville area from 2000 through 2008 with the help of students in my classes. Interesting local questions/issues for each year: 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002, and 2000 are available by clicking on the year.

Service Learning

I have always incorporated "hands-on" learning in many of my classes. For example, students in my campaigning class must actually work in a campaign. Students in several of my classes have carried out exit polls. And so on. Recently though I have become more involved in the pedagogy of "service learning" or "civic engagement." In Summer 2005 I was a participant in the first UI Service Learning Institute put on by the UI Center for Teaching. In February 2006 I presented a paper (see below) at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference discussing some of the challenges in doing service learning/civic engagement courses in political science. This paper was presented with an undergraduate student, Nora Wilson, who worked on the project with me. Some of my interests in service learning were recently posted on the UI Year of Engagement website. And I am now working with Jennifer New, Teresa Magnum, and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies on a graduate student civic engagement institute that began in winter 2007 and continued through 2008 and 2009. During that time 44 graduate students went through an intensive week examining the ways in which faculty can develop engaged teaching and scholarship.

The paper I presented with Nora Wilson, Local Political Involvement and Service Learning is now available by clicking on the link (PDF) and is now a chapter in a new book I edited with Tom Rice called: Civic Serve: Service-learning with State and Local Government Partners, available from Jossey Bass or on

The first Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy was held in January 2007. Teresa Magnum, Jennifer New, and I put it together. There is lots of information about the institute and the fifteen grad students who were selected to be part of it on the Obermann website. The institute continued in 2010 under the directorship of Teresa and Ken Brown after I left Iowa, and is still in operation.

Earlier Project:


In 1997, with Milton Heumann and Tom Church, I edited a volume called Hate Speech on Campus. It is still available at Amazon, and includes a chapter of mine examining the way Duke University addressed multicultural education in the early 1990's.

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Over the years I was active in local politics in a number of ways and as a partisan of both major parties! In the 1980's in Springfield Township, (Bucks County), PA, I served as a member and then Chair of the Township Planning Commission, where we revised our master plan and zoning regulations. In 1989 I was elected as a Township Supervisor (Council) running as a Republican, which I had been since voting in my first election in 1976 (voted for good old Jerry Ford!) I had to resign my positions in Springfield as we moved to Hillsborough Township, NJ in 1990.

In 1992 I re-registered as a Democrat and ran for the Hillsborough Township Committee (Council) and lost. I lost again in 1993. Third time was the charm, and I won a seat in 1995. I was re-elected in 1998, but then resigned in 199 to move to Iowa.

In Iowa I stayed behind the scenes as a member of the Johnson County Democratic Central Committee serving as Precinct Chair in Iowa City Precinct 8. I also served as 2nd Vice Chair and 1st Vice Chair. From December 2003 to March 2004 I served as acting Chair for the county party and was responsible for making sure our 57 precinct caucuses ran as well as possible. We had a (then) record turnout of over 11,000 Democrats at the caucus in 2004. I also served as an elected Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008 where I was witness to the historic occassion and where I brought that experience directly to my students through video conferencing and blogging about the event as it happened.

Once I made the move to Rutgers in 2009, I decided I was giving up the active particpation in partisan politics. I'd had my run and it was been interesting, teaching me a lot about the political process from the inside. In my role at Rutgers as Director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, my job was to observe and comment, and to use data to draw my conclusions about elections and public opinion. And so I did from a non-partisan perspective.

Now that I am at Delaware, chairing Political Science and International Relations, I find I have limited time for politics! Even so, I am keeping an eye on things and returning to some of my active ways, playing a small role as a member of the 23rd Representative District Democratic Committee..

Sailing, sailing. One type of vacation my family has come to really enjoy is cruising. It's a great way to get away, see new things, and relax as much as you want. So we try to do a cruise every now and then. Over the years we've been on Premier's Big Red Boat (the Oceanic) and Seabreeze I, as well as Royal Caribbean's Song of America. Maybe we're a jinx, or something, but none of these three are still around as such. Premier went bankrupt in 2000, and the Big Red Boat is sitting around waiting for a new owner to put her back in service or to scrap her. Seabreeze I was on its way to South Carolina the week of December 17, when it foundered in rough seas and sank, after the Coast Guard rescued the 34 crew members in a dramatic helicopter rescue effort. There were no passengers aboard. Finally, Royal Caribbean sold the Song of America and it has been renamed and is no longer sailing in North America.

In 2013, we did something we'd never done before: a Transatlantic Crossing on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. Talk about your getaways! Seven nights isolated on a ship in the middle of the ocean... It was a great trip!

Went on our first cruise in five years in June 2012 - once again to lovely Bermuda on the Celebrity Summit. What a great vacation - and it was our 30th anniversary as well and the family came with us.

One of our favorite cruises was early in June, 2007 on the Grandeur of the Seas (Royal Carribbean) to Bermuda. Lots of great fun! Before that it had been five years since we went on a cruise, on the S/S Norway, the former S/S France, one of the last of the grand ocean liners. We really loved this one -- seven great days on an Eastern Caribbean route, in the Owner's Suite (largest cabin on the ship!) And, in keeping with the theme that we are dangerous to ships, the Norway was eventually scrapped, following a boiler explosion that killed four crew members.

In August 2001 we cruised to Alaska on Princess Cruises. Believe it or not it was 80 degrees and sunny in Juneau and Skagway when we were there! The weather was beautiful, the trip quite awesome. Nothing matches the sight of Hubbard Glacier from less than a mile away as huge chunks fall into the bay (a process called calving.)




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