Partisan rift opens on "net neutrality" issue nationwide - New CPC research shows

As a federal court considers new national rules on Internet service, a new study by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication shows most people still oppose Internet “fast lanes.” But the study also shows Americans are reluctant to give the federal government power to regulate “net neutrality.”

The study shows a large majority of people surveyed still oppose Internet fast lanes (71 percent). Opposition is down from a similar survey one year ago (81 percent), when President Obama announced his support for new net neutrality rules. Such rules would restrict Internet providers from offering “fast lanes” in the form of premium service to web streaming operations such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

The UD survey reveals a new partisan divide on the net neutrality issue between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans more likely to favor allowing internet service providers to charge extra for premium speeds. In 2014, opposition to fast lanes did not differ significantly by political party.

Download the complete study and analysis here.

CPC research reveals national divides on transgender rights

A new study from the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication suggests a generational blowup over transgender rights could be on the menu for Americans.

A large majority of people surveyed said they favor protection from discrimination for transgender individuals both in schools and in workplaces, and a large majority also supports allowing transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military.

But Paul Brewer, Director of the Center for Political Communication, said clear divisions on these issues emerge based on age, gender and political party.

Full details of the study are available here.

CPC featured in DC event
exploring the new world of digital politics

CPC celebrating 5 Years as the "epicenter of politcs" at UD.

UD students, alumni and friends go behind the scenes at NPR Washington...

More than a hundred UD students, alumni and friends gathered at NPR headquarters in Washington for a CPC-produced program on the world of digital politics, just as the 2016 presidential election season gets underway.

Read more about it here.


CPC research confirms political candidates benefit from positive comments about them on social media

CPC researchers used fictitious candidates portrayed on a fake Facebook page to demonstrate that positive comments in social media influence Facebook users to be favorably disposed to those "candidates." Unfavorable comments in social media have negative effects on social media users, according to the research, published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science. The project was conducted by CPC Director Paul Brewer with affiliated faculty members Lindsay Hoffman (Communication), Jennifer Lambe (Communication) and Philip Jones (Political Science & International Relations), and with graduate student Michael Habegger and recent undergraduate Ruby Harrington (both in Political Science & International Relations).

Read more…

Find the full research report here.

The University of Delaware as
"maker of political kings"

(NYTimes columnist Frank Bruni on
CBS "This Morning" - March 17, 2015)

Proud of UD's role producing engaged citizen-leaders? Help today's UD students achieve success. Make a gift now to the Center for Political Communication.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player



A list of research publications is available here.



With ISIS claiming to have beheaded a Japanese hostage, the issue of whether images of such events should be shown in the news media returns to public discussion. A national survey by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication shows a large majority of Americans say the news media should not show images of beheadings by the organization ISIS.

Fully 70% of respondents said news media companies should not show such images. Only 26% said news media companies should show the images. The telephone survey was conducted from October 21-26, 2014, shortly after ISIS released videos of several Western hostages being beheaded by members of the organization.

A majority of Americans, 60%, also said social media companies like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube should block access to images of these beheadings. In contrast, only 36% said social media companies should not block access to such images. Controversy has surrounded the issue of whether social media companies should make editorial decisions about the content they allow on their sites.

Associate Director for Research, Paul BrewerThese results suggest Americans support self-censorship by the news media when it comes to these images,” said CPC Associate Director Paul Brewer, who supervised the study. “They also suggest Americans support social media sites taking on active roles as gatekeepers of what people should and shouldn’t see about public affairs.”

The study also shows support for self-censorship of beheading images is lower among younger people and people who describe themselves as less religious. Older and more religious people are more supportive of media taking steps to prevent such images from being seen.

Download the complete study here.



As Washington considers new rules governing Internet speeds and pricing, a new national survey by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication shows a large majority of the public opposes the creation of premium Internet “fast lanes.” Fully 81% oppose “allowing Internet service providers to charge some websites or streaming video services extra for faster speeds,” while only 17% favor doing so. The survey also reveals that viewers of satirical shows such as John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and The Colbert Report are far more aware of the issue than consumers of traditional news sources.

Learn more and download the study here.



The University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication has released analysis of a newly-published study of race and voter ID laws.

The study reveals that seeing a photograph of an African American voter and poll worker affected how white respondents answered a survey question about voter ID laws. White survey respondents who saw this image expressed stronger support for voter ID laws than those who saw no image. Seeing an image of a white voter and poll worker did not affect white respondents’ support. Research faculty David C. Wilson and Paul Brewer supervised the study.

“Our findings suggest that public opinion about voter ID laws can be racialized by simply presenting an image of African Americans voting” said Wilson. “The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of political ideology and racial attitudes.”

Voter ID laws require individuals to show government issued identification before voting. Controversy surrounds the role of these laws in next month’s elections for Congress and state offices. A number of states have passed voter ID laws in the name of preventing voting fraud. Polls consistently show that a large majority of Americans favor the laws.

Some opponents of voter ID laws say they are designed to prevent African-Americans, students and low-income voters from casting ballots. The United States Supreme Court recently blocked Wisconsin from implementing its voter ID law, less than a month before the November 4 elections. A federal appeals court also struck down a Texas voter ID law, ruling that the law discriminated against African American and Hispanic voters.

The University of Delaware study shows white voters were somewhat more likely to favor voter ID laws when they were shown an image of black voters and poll workers, compared to white voters who saw no image.

Download the study here.



The University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication has released results from a new public opinion poll in Delaware, as part of its National Agenda program. National Agenda is supported in part by the William P. Frank Foundation of Delaware.

View/Download detailed data of the September 2014 National Agenda Public Opinion Poll in Delaware:

The poll shows that outgoing Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, a Democrat who has announced plans to run for Governor, is viewed favorably by 60% of Delawareans. Only 24% view him unfavorably. Majorities in all three Delaware counties rated him favorably, suggesting he could be a formidable candidate in the 2016 gubernatorial election. A September 2013 poll, also conducted by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication, found that 64% of Delawareans viewed Beau Biden favorably and 17% viewed him unfavorably.

The poll reveals that Governor Jack Markell, also a Democrat, is viewed favorably by 55% of Delawareans and unfavorably by 25%. In September 2013, 62% of Delawareans viewed him favorably and 18% viewed him unfavorably. Markell is not up for reelection.

Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, a Democrat who is running for Attorney General in next month’s election, is viewed favorably by 39% of Delawareans and unfavorably by 13%, giving him an almost a three-to-one margin among those who provided a rating of him. However, 46% of Delawareans said they had never heard of him or could not rate him. The 2013 poll did not ask about Denn.

The poll shows that Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat, remains the most popular member of Delaware’s Congressional delegation. Fully 63% of Delawareans view him favorably, while 16% view him unfavorably. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat who is running for reelection next month, is viewed favorably by 45% and unfavorably by 26%. Representative John Carney, another Democrat who is currently running for reelection, is viewed favorably by 49% and unfavorably by 17%. Favorably ratings for Carper, Coons, and Carney have changed little from September 2013.

If the next presidential election were held today, either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden would handily defeat New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in Delaware. Both Biden and Christie are University of Delaware alumni, but if they ran head-to-head in Delaware, Biden would crush Christie, 54% to 38%.

Most Delawareans hold positive views of both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Fully 64% view the Vice President favorably, and 61% view Clinton favorably. Their ratings have changed little from September 2013. In contrast, Christie’s favorability has declined 13 points in the past year, from 57% to 44%. Even so, Delawareans still view Christie more favorably than two other potential Republican presidential contenders. Only 29% of Delaware residents view former Florida Governor Jeb Bush favorably, and just 26% view Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky favorably.


Other data from the poll show both incumbent Delaware members of Congress with wide leads over their opponents in the upcoming 2014 election. Results give U.S. Senator Chris Coons a 27-point lead over Republican nominee Kevin Wade, and incumbent U.S. Representative John Carney with an even larger lead, of 35 points, over Republican nominee Rose Izzo.



Faculty members Lindsay Hoffman (CPC Coordinator of Technology Research), Phil Jones (political science) and Dannagal Young (communication) report on their interdisciplinary collaboration in two separate publications in the respected journals Computers in Human Behavior and New Media & Society. Read about it in UDaily.

Dannagal Young, Phillip Jones, Lindsay Hoffman

The study, titled “Does My Comment Count? Perceptions of Political Participation in an Online Environment,” addresses the question whether, when people engage in political behavior online -- “liking” a candidate’s Facebook page, tweeting their thoughts about a political platform, or signing a virtual petition -- they view their activities as influencing the functions of government (participation) or as communication with others.

CPC Senior Fellows David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt in the UD Messenger

UD alumnus and CPC Senior Fellow David Plouffe, former senior adviser and campaign manager for President Obama, is featured in the University of Delaware Messenger.


CPC Senior Fellow Steven Schmidt delivers life message to UD undergraduates at his own graduation:



CPC Newsletter - RUMBLINGS from the Epicenter - Spring 2013

Rumblings 2013






VOTER ID AND RACE - National Survey Shows Support for Voter ID Laws Strongest Among Those with Negative Attitudes Toward African Americans

Research by CPC faculty David Wilson, Paul Brewer

July 17, 2012 – A new National Agenda Opinion Poll by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication reveals support for voter identification laws is strongest among Americans who harbor negative sentiments toward African Americans.The survey reveals strong partisan and ideological divisions on a "racial resentment" scale used in the study.

Republicans and conservatives have the highest "racial resentment" scores, and Democrats and liberals have the lowest; Independents and moderates are in the middle. Democrats and liberals are least supportive of voter ID laws, whereas Republicans and conservatives are most supportive.

Read more about it…


HEALTH CARE MANDATE - National Survey Shows Public Is Deeply Divided on Health Insurance Mandate

Research by CPC faculty David Wilson, Paul Brewer

June 22, 2012 – As the United States Supreme Court prepares to rule on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, a new National Agenda Opinion Poll by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication reveals Americans are divided along party and ideology lines on a key provision of the law. Democrats and liberals overwhelmingly favor insurance mandates at both the federal and state levels, whereas large majorities of Republicans and conservatives oppose either type of mandate.

Read more about it…



New poll of UD students reveals political engagement and voting plans. (Click image for poll results on political engagement. Click here for complete Blue Hen Poll results on all topics.)

BHP Student Partisanship

The Blue Hen Poll is a product of the undergraduate class of Center for Political Communication Coordinator of Public Opinion Initiatives Dr. David C. Wilson.



OCCUPY WALL STREET - National Survey Shows Fox News Viewers are Least Informed, Most Negative, About OWS
February 15, 2012 - Research by CPC faculty Paul Brewer, Dannagal Young

January 30, 2012 - research by CPC faculty Paul Brewer, Dannagal Young

Heard/Know about OWS?


A new national University of Delaware study reveals that four months since the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement, almost one in five Americans have heard nothing at all about it. Even among those who are aware of the movement, one third cannot identify the protest’s main message.

Also see "IN THE NEWS" for media references to this research.





January 17, 2012 - study by CPC faculty Paul Brewer, Philip Jones, Dannagal Young




Excellence in Writing contest




Provost Tom Apple presented writing awards on November 2, 2011, to:

writing logoWilliam B. Humphrey - Honors senior, majoring in Political Science & International Relations, with minors in Political Communication, History and Geography.
Read his essay: "Real Problem in Congress"

Levi Sikes writing logo- Honors junior, majoring in English, with minors in Political Science and Interactive Media.
Read his essay: "Something Like Wishful Thinking"


The Center for Political Communication in association with the University of Delaware's Resident Ensemble Players, supported the world premiere of an original play, April-May, 2011.

And a weekend symposium on politics and entertainment:
- April 2011

A crowded field in politics with connections to the University of Delaware.
From left: Howard Dean (former Democratic National Committee chairman), Steve Schmidt (former UD student, campaign strategist for John McCain and Senior Fellow of the Center for Political Communication), Ralph Begleiter (Director of the CPC), Patti Solis Doyle (former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden), Vice President Joe Biden (UD '65), David Wilson (CPC faculty, Political Science & International Relations), Governor Chris Christie (UD '84), Lindsay Hoffman (CPC faculty, Communication), David Plouffe (former campaign manager for Barack Obama, UD '10), Karl Rove (former deputy White House Chief of Staff for George W. Bush), Wolf Blitzer, CNN Washington.
Political illustration by Don McElroy, UD '00.

University of Delaware hosts Delaware Debates 2010

- Center for Political Communication is co-host for nationally-televised debate at UD

- Unexpected result in Delaware primary for U.S. Senate highlights UD's "epicenter of politics" role

- CPC faculty take on role as national media resource

In 2008, a revolution in political communication unleashed new ways to foster citizen engagement through social networking technologies such as Facebook, blogs, text messaging and non-traditional media. The result was a new style of political communication that is spreading globally. Studying these changes requires multi-dimensional scholarship, which is at the heart of the Center for Political Communication, drawing from Political Science, Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, History and Psychology, among other disciplines.

The Center for Political Communication consolidates faculty expertise in emerging communication technologies, to explore their effects on elections and policy debates, to establish graduate and undergraduate research opportunities, and to encourage public engagement.

The Center promotes research in politics, policy and new technologies in political communication, both in the United States and internationally. It supports events designed to engage students, scholars, media and the public.

  • UD College of Arts & Sciences  •   4 Kent Way  •   Newark, DE 19716  •   USA
    Phone: 302-831-2793  •   E-mail: