Greetings from APSA 2010!

I’m currently in Washington, D.C. attending the annual conference for the American Political Science Association. In other words, I’m spending three days listing to a bunch of geeky professors talk about their various research projects. Exciting, huh?

Some of the things I’ve learned here this weekend:

  • In terms of voting, multi-racial candidates are viewed by most Americans the same as they would view a “traditional” minority candidate. In other words, they’re not seen as any more “white” just because they’re multi-racial. (Think Obama 2008.)
  • In terms of voting, Mexican-Americans prefer candidates who look more like Europeans than indigenous Latin-Americans (even controlling for language use and other factors).
  • Endorsements from political groups do little to help voters match up their preferences with the “correct” candidate in an election. It helps only among those with high levels of political knowledge. In other words, those endorsements from the NRA or AFL-CIO work only on those who know who those groups are.
  • Muslim-Americans display higher levels of patriotism when exposed to information suggesting that their fellow Americans are more patriotic. This suggests that they perceive other Americans as part of their “in-group” and thus Muslim-Americans do indeed see themselves as “true” Americans.
  • According to one statistical forecasting model, Republicans have a 79% chance of winning control of the House of Representatives, with 229 seats vs. 209 for Democrats.

I’m a member of the Race and Politics and Religion and Politics sections, so those are mainly the panels that I went to see, which explains the themes of the topics listed above.

I’ve also done some sight-seeing while here in town. My friend Nick and I took a stroll by the White House, the Washington monument, and the new Capitol Visitor’s Center. We also, of course, stopped by the Air and Space Smithsonian to pay homage to the original model of the U.S.S. Enterprise. On Friday night my friend Patience took me to see the Jefferson monument. This is a fun place to visit!

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