Political Science PhD student whose interests are concentrated in political psychology/behavior research, revolving around questions of individual opinion formation and change, group identity, partisanship, and prejudice.


Ezekiel Wright, superhero

While Marvel's superhero creates illusions through the use of conventional magic tricks...

Ezekiel Wright, political scientist

...I attempt to cut through illusory understandings of politics with statistical analysis.

First, if you're looking for the Marvel superhero, you've come to the wrong place. That Ezekiel is a vigilante who uses magic — I'm a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota. I received a master's in Political Science at the University of Rhode Island, and, prior to that, a bachelor's at Ithaca College. Between Ithaca and graduate school, I spent five years as a journalist and freelance writer.

My academic interests generally concern "why do we believe what we believe, and why do we (not) change those beliefs?"

Political attitudes are a difficult matter to study, with many indications that homo politicus functions as an irrational ad hoc being, individually or in groups, motivated by emotion, tribalism, and bias. Few people believe their own political views to be incoherent, yet many political scientists maintain that most are. So my interest in political beliefs is rooted in explaining my own viewpoints and biases, those of people who disagree with me, and those who believe in the patently false but nonetheless can't be dissuaded.

I have a black cat. I also have a short dog believed to be a border collie-basset hound mix (or "border basset") named Baja, and a golden retriever-husky mix named June. In my free time, I enjoy normal human activities like cooking, spending time outdoors, bringing the dogs to restaurant patios, and photography.

Julianne and June

Julianne and June


"Belief systems have never surrendered easily to empirical study or quantification. Indeed, they have often served as primary exhibits for the doctrine that what is important to study cannot be measured and that what can be measured is not important to study." (Converse 1964)

Two of my most recent research projects have looked at the "alt-right" and vote margins in the 2016 elections. The former work evaluated attitudes, policy positions, and characteristics of "alt-right" support found in a four-wave survey panel. The latter project identified whether or not House Republicans' opposition to Trump in 2016 influenced their district races/their districts' support for their party's presidential nominee. Look for these results to be published somewhere in the near future.

A few other projects have looked at affective polarization, the strength of partisanship, and the effect of legislative term limits on state immigration policy. The first used ANES data to update and corroborate Iyengar, Sood, and Lelkes (2012)'s conception of polarization as an affective, not ideological, division in the American electorate. An experimental survey looked at party identity and the durability of partisanship when primed to be less significant. A third project evaluated how state legislators' blame avoidance strategies change under the constraint of term limits.

An unrelated (to my main interests) project looked at private military and security companies, and which countries contract out for their services.

Predictive Margins
Contracting Out




Updated: 7/26/2017