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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) serves scholars, students, policymakers and the public by propelling actionable research, providing public education and promoting a more reasonable democratic square.
In American politics, “swing voters” are usually defined as white, working class voters in the Midwest and Rust Belt. By contrast, African Americans are treated as a monolithic constituency that the Democratic Party has “captured.” The Black Swing Voter Study (BSVS) aims to counter this narrative by shining new light on African Americans’ role as decisive “swing voters”—swinging from the Democrats to not voting, and therefore swinging the outcome of elections just as much as those white working class voters do. The BSVS pairs representative surveys with extended focus groups of battle-state Americans—especially those 18-30—to highlight the diversity of views within this community, catch trends, call out myths, and generally underscore the important role that this constituency plays in American politics. Learn more. Read topline results.
African American "Swing" Voters: 2020 and Beyond
CCPS would like to extend its gratitude for the support of our partners at the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics led by Executive Director Amy K. Dacey. We are greatly appreciative of the work in helping to make the Black Swing Voter Project a success and look forward to a continued partnership.
The Principal Investigators of the BSVS are:
David C. Barker, Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Leonard Steinhorn, Professor of Communication and Affiliate Professor of History, CBS News political analyst Sam Fulwood, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Faculty Fellow at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
Other BSVS Research Associates include:
Jan Leighley, Professor, School of Public Affairs
Ray Block, Penn State University Amy Dacey, Executive Director, Sine Institute of Policy & Politics
Marcus Johnson, AU Phd student in Government
Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore Project
This project will locate and publish letters, from 1844–53, of the twelfth and thirteenth U.S. presidents. Learn More
2019-2020 Understanding Legislative Negotiation Grant Recipients
CCPS Director David Barker talked about his book, One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy, and the current political stalemate between Congress and the White House.
Madison Prize Honors Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray
U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence by American University School of Public Affairs. The new award recognizes lawmakers who strive for legislative compromise in the same spirit outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10. In an era of extreme polarization in American politics, the Madison Prize is an effort to draw attention to legislators who work across the aisle to resolve difficult issues. Learn More
Congress & the Presidency Journal
This publication is an interdisciplinary journal of political science and history, published by American University, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies since 1984. The journal is now being published three times a year. Congress & the Presidency features articles on Congress, the President, the interaction between the two institutions, and national policy-making. View latest articles
Donald Trump's Re-election Prospects
Read Professor John E. Owens’ newest article “Donald Trump’s Re-election Prospects” in the September 2020 issue of Political Insight where he examines polling data that shows the odds stacked against a Trump victory.