PS: Political Science & Politics


Change We Can Believe In? Using Political Science to Predict Policy Change in the Obama Presidency

Jonathan Woona1

a1 University of Pittsburgh


Based on the results of the 2008 presidential and congressional elections, an analysis using theories and methods of modern political science (pivotal politics theory, ideal point estimates, and bootstrap simulations) suggests that the conditions are ripe for real policy change. Specifically, we should expect policies to move significantly in a liberal direction, few or no policies should move in a conservative direction, and many of the outcomes will be moderate or somewhat to the left of center (rather than far left). Furthermore, the predictions depend as much on partisan polarization and the results of the congressional election as they do on the outcome of presidential election itself.

Jonathan Woon is assistant professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and his research interests include congressional policymaking, political parties, and formal theory. He can be reached at