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D. Sunshine Hillygus

Professor of Political Science
Political Science
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
140 Science Drive, 203 Gross H, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708

Selected Publications


Using Auxiliary Marginal Distributions in Imputations for Nonresponse while Accounting for Survey Weights, with Application to Estimating Voter Turnout

Journal Article Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology · February 1, 2024 In many survey settings, population counts or percentages are available for some of the variables in the survey, for example, from censuses, administrative databases, or other high-quality surveys. We present a model-based approach to utilize such auxiliar ... Full text Cite

Protecting the integrity of survey research.

Journal Article PNAS nexus · March 2023 Although polling is not irredeemably broken, changes in technology and society create challenges that, if not addressed well, can threaten the quality of election polls and other important surveys on topics such as the economy. This essay describes some of ... Full text Cite

A randomized experiment evaluating survey mode effects for video interviewing

Journal Article Political Science Research and Methods · January 1, 2023 Rising costs and challenges of in-person interviewing have prompted major surveys to consider moving online and conducting live web-based video interviews. In this paper, we evaluate video mode effects using a two-wave experimental design in which responde ... Full text Cite

Leveraging Auxiliary Information on Marginal Distributions in Nonignorable Models for Item and Unit Nonresponse.

Journal Article Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A, (Statistics in Society) · April 2021 Often, government agencies and survey organizations know the population counts or percentages for some of the variables in a survey. These may be available from auxiliary sources, for example, administrative databases or other high quality surveys. We pres ... Full text Cite

All the Best Polls Agree with Me: Bias in Evaluations of Political Polling

Journal Article Political Behavior · December 1, 2020 Do Americans consider polling results an objective source of information? Experts tend to evaluate the credibility of polls based on the survey methods used, vendor track record, and data transparency, but it is unclear if the public does the same. In two ... Full text Cite

The Development of Students' Engagement in School, Community and Democracy

Journal Article British Journal of Political Science · October 1, 2020 This article explores the origins of youth engagement in school, community and democracy. Specifically, it considers the role of psychosocial or non-cognitive abilities, like grit or perseverance. Using a novel original large-scale longitudinal survey of s ... Full text Cite

Making Young Voters

Book · January 31, 2020 Full text Cite

Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency's impact on the political attitudes and behaviors of American Twitter users in late 2017.

Journal Article Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America · January 2020 There is widespread concern that Russia and other countries have launched social-media campaigns designed to increase political divisions in the United States. Though a growing number of studies analyze the strategy of such campaigns, it is not yet known h ... Full text Cite

An embedding model for estimating legislative preferences from the frequency and sentiment of tweets

Conference EMNLP 2020 - 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference · January 1, 2020 Legislator preferences are typically represented as measures of general ideology estimated from roll call votes on legislation, potentially masking important nuances in legislators' political attitudes. In this paper we introduce a method of measuring more ... Cite

The consequences of personality biases in online panels for measuring public opinion

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · January 1, 2020 Online surveys, particularly those that draw samples from online panels of experienced respondents, now comprise a large segment of the academic and commercial opinion research markets due to their low cost and flexibility. A growing literature examines th ... Full text Cite

The National Sleep Foundation's Sleep Satisfaction Tool.

Journal Article Sleep health · February 2019 ObjectivesThe National Sleep Foundation (NSF) sought to test, refine, and add statistical rigor to its previously described provisional Sleep Satisfaction Tool (SST). The tool assesses the general population's sleep satisfaction.DesignIn ... Full text Cite

The message and the medium: an experimental evaluation of the effects of Twitter commentary on campaign messages

Journal Article Journal of Information Technology and Politics · January 2, 2019 Social media are an increasingly important communication tool in political campaigns, yet there is much to learn about how communication effects might differ for these platforms. In contrast to traditional media outlets, messengers often do not fully contr ... Full text Cite

Navigating scholarly exchange in today’s media environment

Journal Article Journal of Politics · July 1, 2018 Growing concerns about the reliability and validity of published empirical research has helped to fuel an increasing number of scholarly exchanges about research replications and reproductions, which often play out in social media, anonymous blog posts, an ... Full text Cite

Comments on Single-Blind Reviewing from the Editorial Staff

Journal Article Political Analysis · July 2018 Full text Cite

Comments on Single-Blind Reviewing from the Editorial Staff

Journal Article Political Analysis · July 2018 Cite

Why So Serious?: Survey Trolls and Misinformation

Journal Article · March 14, 2018 Cite

Evaluating U.S. Electoral representation with a joint statistical model of congressional roll-calls, legislative text, and voter registration data

Conference Proceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining · August 13, 2017 Extensive information on 3 million randomly sampled United States citizens is used to construct a statistical model of constituent preferences for each U.S. congressional district. This model is linked to the legislative voting record of the legislator fro ... Full text Cite

The National Sleep Foundation's Sleep Health Index.

Journal Article Sleep health · August 2017 ObjectivesA validated survey instrument to assess general sleep health would be a useful research tool, particularly when objective measures of sleep are not feasible. Thus, the National Sleep Foundation spearheaded the development of the Sleep He ... Full text Cite

Using Auxiliary Marginal Distributions in Imputations for Nonresponse while Accounting for Survey Weights, with Application to Estimating Voter Turnout

Journal Article Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology · February 1, 2024 In many survey settings, population counts or percentages are available for some of the variables in the survey, for example, from censuses, administrative databases, or other high-quality surveys. We present a model-based approach to utilize such auxiliar ... Full text Cite

Protecting the integrity of survey research.

Journal Article PNAS nexus · March 2023 Although polling is not irredeemably broken, changes in technology and society create challenges that, if not addressed well, can threaten the quality of election polls and other important surveys on topics such as the economy. This essay describes some of ... Full text Cite

A randomized experiment evaluating survey mode effects for video interviewing

Journal Article Political Science Research and Methods · January 1, 2023 Rising costs and challenges of in-person interviewing have prompted major surveys to consider moving online and conducting live web-based video interviews. In this paper, we evaluate video mode effects using a two-wave experimental design in which responde ... Full text Cite

Leveraging Auxiliary Information on Marginal Distributions in Nonignorable Models for Item and Unit Nonresponse.

Journal Article Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A, (Statistics in Society) · April 2021 Often, government agencies and survey organizations know the population counts or percentages for some of the variables in a survey. These may be available from auxiliary sources, for example, administrative databases or other high quality surveys. We pres ... Full text Cite

All the Best Polls Agree with Me: Bias in Evaluations of Political Polling

Journal Article Political Behavior · December 1, 2020 Do Americans consider polling results an objective source of information? Experts tend to evaluate the credibility of polls based on the survey methods used, vendor track record, and data transparency, but it is unclear if the public does the same. In two ... Full text Cite

The Development of Students' Engagement in School, Community and Democracy

Journal Article British Journal of Political Science · October 1, 2020 This article explores the origins of youth engagement in school, community and democracy. Specifically, it considers the role of psychosocial or non-cognitive abilities, like grit or perseverance. Using a novel original large-scale longitudinal survey of s ... Full text Cite

Making Young Voters

Book · January 31, 2020 Full text Cite

Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency's impact on the political attitudes and behaviors of American Twitter users in late 2017.

Journal Article Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America · January 2020 There is widespread concern that Russia and other countries have launched social-media campaigns designed to increase political divisions in the United States. Though a growing number of studies analyze the strategy of such campaigns, it is not yet known h ... Full text Cite

An embedding model for estimating legislative preferences from the frequency and sentiment of tweets

Conference EMNLP 2020 - 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference · January 1, 2020 Legislator preferences are typically represented as measures of general ideology estimated from roll call votes on legislation, potentially masking important nuances in legislators' political attitudes. In this paper we introduce a method of measuring more ... Cite

The consequences of personality biases in online panels for measuring public opinion

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · January 1, 2020 Online surveys, particularly those that draw samples from online panels of experienced respondents, now comprise a large segment of the academic and commercial opinion research markets due to their low cost and flexibility. A growing literature examines th ... Full text Cite

The National Sleep Foundation's Sleep Satisfaction Tool.

Journal Article Sleep health · February 2019 ObjectivesThe National Sleep Foundation (NSF) sought to test, refine, and add statistical rigor to its previously described provisional Sleep Satisfaction Tool (SST). The tool assesses the general population's sleep satisfaction.DesignIn ... Full text Cite

The message and the medium: an experimental evaluation of the effects of Twitter commentary on campaign messages

Journal Article Journal of Information Technology and Politics · January 2, 2019 Social media are an increasingly important communication tool in political campaigns, yet there is much to learn about how communication effects might differ for these platforms. In contrast to traditional media outlets, messengers often do not fully contr ... Full text Cite

Navigating scholarly exchange in today’s media environment

Journal Article Journal of Politics · July 1, 2018 Growing concerns about the reliability and validity of published empirical research has helped to fuel an increasing number of scholarly exchanges about research replications and reproductions, which often play out in social media, anonymous blog posts, an ... Full text Cite

Comments on Single-Blind Reviewing from the Editorial Staff

Journal Article Political Analysis · July 2018 Full text Cite

Comments on Single-Blind Reviewing from the Editorial Staff

Journal Article Political Analysis · July 2018 Cite

Why So Serious?: Survey Trolls and Misinformation

Journal Article · March 14, 2018 Cite

Evaluating U.S. Electoral representation with a joint statistical model of congressional roll-calls, legislative text, and voter registration data

Conference Proceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining · August 13, 2017 Extensive information on 3 million randomly sampled United States citizens is used to construct a statistical model of constituent preferences for each U.S. congressional district. This model is linked to the legislative voting record of the legislator fro ... Full text Cite

The National Sleep Foundation's Sleep Health Index.

Journal Article Sleep health · August 2017 ObjectivesA validated survey instrument to assess general sleep health would be a useful research tool, particularly when objective measures of sleep are not feasible. Thus, the National Sleep Foundation spearheaded the development of the Sleep He ... Full text Cite

Polls and Elections Reversal of Fortune: The Political Behavior of White Migrants to the South

Journal Article Presidential Studies Quarterly · June 2017 What are the political implications of domestic migration to the American South? Using the American National Election Studies, we track the changing dynamic of party identification and presidential voting among white southern in‐migrants and native ... Full text Cite

Erratum to: Making Young Voters: The Impact of Preregistration on Youth Turnout: MAKING YOUNG VOTERS (American Journal of Political Science, (2016), 60, 2, (364-382), 10.1111/ajps.12177)

Journal Article American Journal of Political Science · April 1, 2017 The purpose of this erratum is to address an error in Making Young Voters: The Impact of Preregistration on Youth Turnout. The error affects the size of the coefficient estimate on preregistration laws in the difference-in-difference model reported in Tabl ... Full text Cite

Bayesian mixture models with focused clustering for mixed ordinal and nominal data

Journal Article Bayesian Analysis · January 1, 2017 In some contexts, mixture models can fit certain variables well at the expense of others in ways beyond the analyst's control. For example, when the data include some variables with non-trivial amounts of missing values, the mixture model may fit the margi ... Full text Cite

Campaigning Online: Web Display Ads in the 2012 Presidential Campaign

Journal Article PS - Political Science and Politics · July 1, 2016 Although much of what we know about political advertising comes from the study of television advertising alone, online advertising is an increasingly prominent part of political campaigning. Research on other online political communication - especially can ... Full text Cite

Making Young Voters: The Impact of Preregistration on Youth Turnout

Journal Article American Journal of Political Science · March 1, 2016 Recent research has cast doubt on the potential for various electoral reforms to increase voter turnout. In this article, we examine the effectiveness of preregistration laws, which allow young citizens to register before being eligible to vote. We use two ... Full text Open Access Cite

Bayesian latent pattern mixture models for handling attrition in panel studies with refreshment samples

Journal Article Annals of Applied Statistics · March 1, 2016 Many panel studies collect refreshment samples—new, randomly sampled respondents who complete the questionnaire at the same time as a subsequent wave of the panel. With appropriate modeling, these samples can be leveraged to correct inferences for biases c ... Full text Open Access Cite

Norman H. Nie In Memoriam

Journal Article PS-POLITICAL SCIENCE & POLITICS · January 1, 2016 Link to item Cite

Changing the clock

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · January 1, 2016 Time of vote decision research has shaped our understanding of the nature and influence of campaigns. Traditionally, time of decision has been viewed primarily as a reflection of individual-level characteristics, especially political interest or attentiven ... Full text Cite

Longitudinal Surveys: Issues and Opportunities

Chapter · December 14, 2015 Longitudinal or panel surveys, in which the same individuals are interviewed repeatedly over time, are increasingly common in the social sciences. The benefit of such surveys is that they track the same respondents so that researchers can measure individua ... Link to item Cite

Accounting for nonignorable unit nonresponse and attrition in panel studies with refreshment samples

Journal Article Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology · September 1, 2015 Panel surveys typically suffer from attrition, which can lead to biased inference when basing analysis only on cases that complete all waves of the panel. Unfortunately, the panel data alone cannot inform the extent of the bias due to attrition, so analyst ... Full text Cite

Semi-parametric selection models for potentially non-ignorable attrition in panel studies with refreshment samples

Journal Article Political Analysis · January 1, 2015 Panel studies typically suffer from attrition. Ignoring the attrition can result in biased inferences if the missing data are systematically related to outcomes of interest. Unfortunately, panel data alone cannot inform the extent of bias due to attrition. ... Full text Cite

Assessing strategic voting in the 2008 US presidential primaries: the role of electoral context, institutional rules, and negative votes

Journal Article Public Choice · December 1, 2014 We examine the nature and extent of strategic voting in the 2008 US presidential primary. In doing so, we distinguish positive strategic voters—those casting ballots for their second choice in the primary and general election—from negative strategic voters ... Full text Cite

Blame, Responsibility, and the Tea Party in the 2010 Midterm Elections

Journal Article Political Behavior · September 2014 Full text Cite

Looking Beyond Demographics: Panel Attrition in the ANES and GSS

Journal Article Political Analysis · June 2014 Cite

Professional respondents in nonprobability online panels

Chapter · May 27, 2014 It is well-documented that there exists a pool of frequent survey takers who participate in many different online nonprobability panels in order to earn cash or other incentives--so-called 'professional' respondents. Despite widespread concern about the im ... Full text Cite

The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns

Book · April 24, 2014 The use of wedge issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and immigration has become standard political strategy in contemporary presidential campaigns. Why do candidates use such divisive appeals? Who in the electorate is persuaded by these controversial is ... Cite

Looking beyond demographics: Panel attrition in the ANES and GSS

Journal Article Political Analysis · January 1, 2014 Longitudinal or panel surveys offer unique benefits for social science research, but they typically suffer from attrition, which reduces sample size and can result in biased inferences. Previous research tends to focus on the demographic predictors of attr ... Full text Cite

Handling attrition in longitudinal studies: The case for refreshment samples

Journal Article Statistical Science · May 1, 2013 Panel studies typically suffer from attrition, which reduces sample size and can result in biased inferences. It is impossible to know whether or not the attrition causes bias from the observed panel data alone. Refreshment samples-new, randomly sampled re ... Full text Cite

Panel Attrition and the Survey Experience

Journal Article Political Analysis · 2013 Cite

The evolution of election polling in the United States

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · December 1, 2011 Public opinion polls have long played an important role in the study and conduct of elections. In this essay, I outline the evolution of polling as used for three different functions in U.S. presidential elections: forecasting election outcomes, understand ... Full text Cite

The dynamics of health care opinion, 2008-2010: partisanship, self-interest, and racial resentment.

Journal Article Journal of health politics, policy and law · December 2011 Recent debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act highlights the extent of party polarization in Washington. While the partisan divide on this issue is stark among political elites, it is less clear how the mass electorate has responded to ... Full text Cite

The Dynamics of Health Care Opinion, 2008-2010

Journal Article Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law · 2011 Cite

The dynamics of candidate evaluations and vote choice in 2008: Looking to the past or future?

Journal Article Electoral Studies · December 1, 2010 In this paper, we leverage a 10-wave election panel to examine the relative and dynamic effects of voter evaluations of Bush, Palin, Biden, McCain, and Obama in the 2008 presidential election. We show that the effects of these political figures on vote cho ... Full text Cite

Political issues and the Dynamics of vote choice in 2008

Journal Article Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties · May 1, 2010 The 2008 American presidential contest occurred amidst economic conditions unlike any seen in decades. Media assessments have often attributed Barack Obama's victory to the faltering economy, particularly the financial crisis that erupted just seven weeks ... Full text Cite

"Sour grapes" or rational voting? Voter decision making among thwarted primary voters in 2008

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · March 1, 2010 During the 2008 presidential campaign, journalists and pundits debated the electoral consequences of the prolonged and hard-fought nomination contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Previous research, typically using aggregate vote returns, has c ... Full text Cite

Policy Issues and the Dynamics of Vote Choice in the 2008 Presidential Election

Journal Article Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties · 2010 Cite

Retrospective or Prospective Voting in 2008

Journal Article Electoral Studies · 2010 Cite

The nature of political ideology in the contemporary electorate

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · December 31, 2009 Given the increasingly polarized nature of American politics, renewed attention has been focused on the ideological nature of the mass public. Using Bayesian Item Response Theory (IRT), we examine the contemporary contours of policy attitudes as they relat ... Full text Cite

Understanding the 2008 Presidential Election: Introduction

Journal Article Public Opinion Quarterly · December 1, 2009 Full text Cite

The persuadable voter: Wedge issues in presidential campaigns

Book · August 10, 2009 The use of wedge issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and immigration has become standard political strategy in contemporary presidential campaigns. Why do candidates use such divisive appeals? Who in the electorate is persuaded by these controversial is ... Cite

Opinion Formation, Polarization, and Presidential Reelection

Journal Article Presidential Studies Quarterly · 2009 Cite

Internet Use, Interpersonal Relations, and Sociability: A Time Diary Study

Chapter · February 25, 2008 Using exciting new time diary data, we explore the complex ways in which the Internetaffects interpersonal communication and sociability. Rather than dwelling on the increasinglystale debate about whether the Internet is good or bad for sociability, we ana ... Full text Cite

Moral Values: Media, voters, and candidate strategy

Chapter · December 1, 2007 The conventional wisdom about the 2004 presidential election is that the electorate voted on the basis of "moral values."1 Journalists and pundits largely concluded that Bush won reelection because his stance on moral issues, especially gay marriage and ab ... Cite

The Dynamics of Voter Decision Making Among Minor-Party Supporters: The 2000 Presidential Election in the United States

Journal Article British Journal of Political Science · April 2007 Minor party candidates are quite common in modern democratic elections, but we know relatively little about the decision-making process of minor-party supporters. An extensive panel dataset is used to examine the individual-level dynamics of Nader ... Full text Cite

The Hard Count: The Political and Social Challenges of Census Mobilization

Book · April 13, 2006 In The Hard Count, former Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt, D. Sunshine Hillygus, Norman H. Nie, and Heili Pals present a rigorous evaluation of this campaign. ... Cite

Moral issues and voter decision making in the 2004 presidential election

Journal Article PS - Political Science and Politics · April 1, 2005 Full text Cite

The missing link: Exploring the relationship between higher education and political engagement

Journal Article Political Behavior · March 1, 2005 Empirical political behavior research has consistently observed a robust and positive relationship between education and political engagement, but has failed to adequately explain why education is so important. Using data from the Baccalaureate and Beyond ... Full text Cite

Voter Decision Making in Election 2000: Campaign Effects, Partisan Activation, and the Clinton Legacy

Journal Article American Journal of Political Science · October 1, 2003 How do citizens respond to campaign events? We explore this question with a unique repeated measures survey design, fielded during the 2000 presidential campaign. We model transitions in support for the major party candidates following the party convention ... Full text Cite