2012 Post-Election Debriefing Wrap-up

After the ballots were cast and our political leaders were named, the New Politics Forum hosted a 2012 Post-Election Debriefing at the College of Communication’s new Belo Center for New Media. The nonpartisan conference, which took place Friday, Nov. 9, offered an insider's perspective on the election from campaign professionals, communication experts, scholars and members of the press.

The event kicked off with a segment titled, “Voters in Context” in which participants listened to a series of “TED Talk-style” presentations by scholars covering hot topics such as, “Misinformation and Misperceptions in Politics” (with Dr. Dhavan Shah, a professor and director for the Mass Communication Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and “The Politics of News Choice” (with Dr. Talia Stroud, associate professor of communication studies and assistant director of research for the Institute).

                Dr. Talia Jomini Stroud said media consumers increasingly insulate themselves with news marketed toward their specific partisan beliefs. “When we look at the news media, we don’t look with a blank slate,” Stroud said. “Our partisanship colors the way in which we view the media. A consequence of that is if you lean to the political left or the right, putatively neutral news media seems a bit biased in favor of the opposition.”

The “Voters in Context” also included a fascinating presentation by Dr. Sylvia Manzano, a senior project manager at Latino Decisions, on the “Latino Influence in American and Texas Politics.” Dr. Manzano shared her firm’s recent 2012 voter opinion polling data with the group.

                Given the increasing Latino population in Texas, Manzano addressed speculation that Texas might become a blue state, which she said is still unlikely to happen without significant Democratic effort.  “First, Texas would have to turn purple,” she said. “Both major parties will need to increase their efforts to win Latino voters.”

After a short break, the conversation continued with an all-star panel of partisans and journalists, moderated by Dr. Regina Lawrence, director of the Institute. The “Blunt Tell-All from Election 2012” included three short video recaps from the election including the pivotal moments from the campaign trail, political advertisements, the debates, the conventions, and major trends from social media. Panelists Charles Mahtesian (POLITICO), Christina Bellantoni (PBS NewsHour), Will Cain (The Blaze/Glenn Beck TV and CNN), and Cornell Belcher (Democratic Pollster/Strategist and CNN contributor) offered lively insights into the impact of the election and what it means now for us all.

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