Blue Devil of the Week: Sunshine Hillygus became interested in politics in college during the Clinton campaign
I was a freshman at the University of Arkansas in 1992, and our governor, Bill Clinton, ran for president. Arkansas is a small state, and many people on campus were involved in the campaign. Being close to the excitement of a presidential campaign sparked my interest in the process. Now, as a professor, I do a lot of traveling during every presidential campaign to give talks about the election and about my research. Every four years, people suddenly become interested in election polling and whether we can trust polls and how to make sense of them. But most of my research about the campaign won’t happen until after the election is over. Every election cycle, I conduct surveys, interviewing people before the election about their opinions on issues and evaluations of the candidates, and then after the election about how they voted. I then use these surveys to better understand why people made up their minds the way they did.