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Election 2012 - Battleground Ohio

MEDIA RESULTS: University of Dayton faculty and students gave hundreds of interviews to media locally and around the world during the 2012 Election season. For a complete list of coverage, click here


For insight on Battleground Ohio, look no further than the University of Dayton. Our faculty are available for media interviews on a wide range of topics sure to be hot this 2012 election cycle: The economy, immigration, environmental policy, polls, campaigns, voting laws, religion and more.

Ohio: A swing state, a bellwether, birthplace of seven presidents, home to John Boehner, the current Speaker of the House. A perennial battleground state, Ohio is a must-win on the road to the White House. No Republican has ever won the election without carrying the Buckeye State, and a Democrat has only won twice without Ohio in the last 116 years.

Search below for information on our experts, or contact the media relations team at 937-229-3256 or mediarelations@udayton.edu.

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Politics, Public Opinion and the Media

Dan Birdsong

Dan Birdsong, lecturer, political science
937-229-2594; dbirdsong1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Dan Birdsong is a lecturer at the University of Dayton, teaching courses on American Politics, the Presidency, Campaigns and Elections, Media and Politics, and Public Opinion and Political Behavior. He has a background in polling and policy research. He is currently researching how people consume news in an era of multiple sources and new media. Do people consume a variety of news sources or do they find news that fits their thinking? Is it possible to have a national discussion on any given issue when the sources of information often disagree? Research on how and where people get their news will help create a better understanding of public opinion. He is also tracking presidential candidates' use of Twitter. Birdsong received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati where he worked from 2005-09 at the Institute for Policy Research on the Ohio Poll, the Ohio Health Issues Poll and the Greater Cincinnati Survey.

Interviewed by: Education Week, Cincinnati Enquirer, WLW-AM

Quote: (Following defeat of Ohio SB 5) "Ohioans are weary of government overreach and are skeptical of change. These results may be more a message about Ohioans' expectations of government than trends that will help predict 2012."

Voting Behavior, Public Opinion, Health Policy, Gov't Public Relations

Grant NeeleyGrant Neeley, associate professor, political science
937-229-2595; gneeley1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Grant Neeley is an associate political science professor and director of the University's Master's in Public Administration program. His research interests include public opinion, voting behavior, public administration and political behavior. He also teaches classes in morality policy, public sector human resource management and has published research on concealed carry laws and traffic safety. Neeley is a Public Affairs Officer in the Navy Reserve and has worked for the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati and the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Tennessee.

Interviewed by: The Associated Press, USA Today, NPR, Congressional Quarterly, Washington Times.

Quote: "Look at Ohio: We're a 50/50 state, with marginal variation on the big elections ... Any tilting too far by any of the parties, you're going to anger and activate a large percentage of the population ... It's not like we're a 70/30 state. We're as purple as they get."

Ohio and the Iowa Caucuses (WLW, Jan. 5, 2012):


Nancy Martorano MillerNancy Martorano Miller, associate professor, political science
937-229-3650; nmiller1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Nancy Martorano Miller's primary research interest is the state legislative process. She also conducts research in the areas of Southern politics, political parties, interest groups, public opinion and state legislative politics. She is currently the associate editor of State Politics and Policy Quarterly. Martorano Miller has a Ph.D. in political science from Rice University.

Interviewed by: The Associated Press, CNN.com, The San Francisco ChronicleThe (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, WTAM-AM (Cleveland).

Quote: "I don't want to say (voters) are angry. I think they're frustrated. They see a Congress that's split down party lines and the inability of either party to sit down and compromise."


Vernellia R. RandallVernellia Randall, professor of law
937-229-3378; vrandall1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Shawn Robinson, (o) 937-229-3391, (c) 937-232-2907, srobinson@udayton.edu

Randall has taught healthcare law for more than 20 years and will be teaching it this fall. She served as a consultant to the Clinton administration's advisory committee on healthcare reform and a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. She also was an expert witness in the State of Missouri v. Philip Morris trial. The Ohio Commission on Minority Health has given her its Chairman's Award. Before becoming a law professor, Randall was a registered nurse working in public health services and as an administrator for a statewide health program in Alaska. Since 1997, Randall has edited a leading website — "Race, Racism and the Law." She has written extensively on race, health care and the law including her book Dying While Black.

Interviewed by: American Medical NewsNational Law JournalAsbury Park PressThe Miami HeraldThe Record (Bergen County, N.J), NPR, WLW-AM (Cincinnati), San Francisco ChronicleThe Cincinnati Enquirer.

Quote: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to be vilified by the Republicans and exalted by the Democrats. When it comes to assuring access to quality care while controlling cost, the Act is neither as bad or as good as it is portrayed. Although each side seems determined to misrepresent the law to their advantage."

Quote: "By choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has placed Medicare squarely as an issue in the election 2012. Medicare is a hugely popular government health insurance program for people 65 years and older, and disabled. Under Ryan's plan the government would stop being the insurer of health care but would merely assist elderly purchase health insurance from private  provider. The problem is that Medicare is a hugely effective program whose administrative cost is only about 1.3 percent compared to the 11 percent to 30 percent of private insurance. That difference means that over the long run seniors will pay more for less or the government will pay more for services it could provide cheaper." 

Immigration, state and local immigration laws

Jamie LongazelJamie Longazel, assistant professor, sociology
937-229-1232; jlongazel1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Jamie Longazel researches the local and national politics of immigration as well as other issues pertaining to race, law, and crime. He is currently investigating the politics surrounding local immigration laws such as those in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Hazleton, Pa. Longazel earned his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware and was previously a doctoral fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. His work has been published in the Chicano/a Latino/a Law ReviewJournal of Criminal Justice, Race & Justice, Taking Local Control, an edited volume about state and local immigration policy published by Stanford University Press.

Interviewed by: Reuters, The Associated Press

Quote: "Immigrant workers are exploited for their labor and then scapegoated as the source of increased economic uncertainty that is, in fact, the result of expanded corporate welfare. Until we take seriously the fact that our consumer economy runs on inexpensive labor and take steps to end exploitation, anti-immigrant passions will likely continue."


Michelle PautzMichelle Pautz, assistant professor, political science
937-229-3651; mpautz1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Michelle Pautz is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton. Her research focuses on environmental policy and regulation; government accountability; film and politics; and the administration of policy. She has a Ph.D. in public administration from Virginia Tech. She has worked with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop and implement EPA compliance programs. She has published research on environmental policy compliance in more than six academic journals, with three articles due to be published in 2012. Her research on the portrayal of civil servants in popular movies was reported in Roll CallThe Washington Times and on Federal News Radio.

Interviewed by: The Associated Press, Roll Call, The Washington Times, Federal News Radio

Quote: "The overall views of government (in movies) were negative, but the individual actors were all good — there's a disconnect there, and I think that's fascinating. It would seem to parallel the experience of most Americans, who on the surface think government is bad but actually find their day-to-day interactions with government to be positive."

Hollywood and Civil Servants (Federal News Radio, Aug. 6, 2010):


Vince MillerVincent J. Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture
937-229-4564; vmiller1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cilla Shindell, 937-229-3257, shindell@udayton.edu

Vincent J. Miller is professor and Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton. Miller is an expert on religion and politics, religion and consumer culture, the U.S. Catholic Church's involvement in politics and public policy, social justice and public policy and the moral consequences of budgetary policies. He is author of Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture and is currently working on a book on the effect of globalization on religious belief. Formerly of Georgetown University, Miller has been widely sought for his comments on the global financial crisis, Catholic social teaching and the federal budget's impact on the poor.

Interviewed by: Fox News (The O'Reilly Factor), The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Washington PostNational Catholic Reporter, Catholic News Service, Religion News Service.

Quote: "While conservative leaders and several presidential candidates want to eviscerate financial reform, the Vatican has sent a powerful message that prudent regulation of our financial system is a moral priority ... It's clear the Vatican stands with the Occupy Wall Street protesters and others struggling to return ethics and good governance to a financial sector grown out of control after 30 years of deregulation."

Watch interview with Bill O'Reilly (Miller interview begins at 3:40)


Joe Valenzano IIIJoe Valenzano III, assistant professor, communications
937-229-2376; jvalenzanoiii1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Valenzano's research interests include rhetoric and public communication, political communication, religious communication and culture, and communication education. His doctoral dissertation focused on President George W. Bush’s use of the words "freedom" and "terror." His other research articles include: President Obama's understanding of American exceptionalism; religion in the TV show Supernatural; Pope John Paul II's death as a final homily; and Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey. He has a Ph.D. from Georgia State University in public communication.

Interviewed by: Catholic News Service, NPR, Las Vegas Review Journal and the LA Times.

Quote: "The American public is most comfortable with a generic form of Christianity in the candidates and their media representations, but when the candidates veer too far from this norm, they are seen as abnormal or 'the other' and thus lose support."

Listen to President Obama's view of American Exceptionalism (Miami Valley Journal, Jan. 5, 2012)

Speech and Debate Analysis, Persuasion, Communication

Randy SparksRandy Sparks, associate professor, marketing
937-229-2027; sparks@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Sparks is less interested in what candidates say than in how they say it. With a background in radio broadcasting and research in the art of persuasion, Sparks is highly attuned to how convincing candidates are in speeches and debates. Sparks analyzed candidate speeches during the 2008 presidential campaign and is available for morning-after comments on speeches and debates. His persuasion research has appeared in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology and The New Scientist.

Interviewed by: The Associated Press, The Washington Times, Canadian broadcaster CTV.

Quote: "People are very, very concerned about the style of the message. The degree to which a speaker is fluent has an effect on his or her credibility. Even though what someone says may make sense, you are more likely to think they don't know what they're talking about."


Richard StockRichard Stock, director, University of Dayton Business Research Center
937-229-2453; rstock1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cilla Shindell, 937-229-3257, shindell@udayton.edu

Richard Stock is director of the University of Dayton's Business Research Group. Stock researches and monitors the battered Ohio economy, keeping an eye on trends in jobs, unemployment, housing sales, impact of the foreclosure crisis, industry and signs of recovery.

Interviewed by: USA TodayNewsweek, The Associated Press, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business Wire, Akron Beacon-Journal, WLW-AM.

Quote: "We are the leading, bleeding edge of manufacturing in terms of job losses."


Mark EnsalacoMark Ensalaco, director of human rights studies
937-229-2750; mensalaco1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Shawn Robinson, (o) 937-229-3391, (c) 937-232-2907 or srobinson@udayton.edu


Ensalaco could discuss candidates' policies on immigration and human rights (especially human trafficking), plus how they could handle foreign policy as it relates to world dictators and transitions of Power (Fidel Castro). Ensalaco's focus is especially human trafficking, which is a big problem in the Midwest. He was part of a group instrumental in pushing through an Ohio bill to make human trafficking a felony in Ohio. Latin American issues are another part of his expertise, so he's very familiar with border and immigration issues.

Interviewed by: CBS Radio News, CNN en Español, CNN International, Fox News Channel, BBC, Reuters, The New York Times, Voice of America and several on-camera appearances in Dayton.

Quote: "The Arab Spring has really changed the political dynamic, so the changes that are occurring are not a result of al-Qaida, they're not a result of Islamic militance."


Rich SaphireRich Saphire, professor of law
937-229-2820; rsaphire1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Shawn Robinson, (o) 937-229-3391, (c) 937-232-2907, srobinson@udayton.edu

Since the 2000 presidential election, Saphire has served as co-counsel in a number of voting rights cases, including Stewart v. Blackwell, a challenge to Ohio's dual-balloting voting system, and Project Vote v. Madison County Board of Elections, a challenge to Ohio voting regulations that restricted the right to register to vote. Co-wrote "The Voting Rights Act and the Racial Gap in Lost Votes," reprinted in The Civil Rights Litigation and Attorneys Fees Annual Handbook, Nov. 2008.

Interviewed by: Newark Star-Ledger, The Associated Press, Ohio News Network, local Dayton media.

Quote: "Those folks don't know any more about the law than people on the streets do. There are a lot of these so-called 'opinion molders' who have this romanticized notion that the Constitution is what the Founders said it should be and judges should stick to that."


Bob TaftBob Taft, distinguished research associate, School of Education and Allied Professions
Former Ohio Governor (1999-2007)
937-229-4012; rtaft1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Former Ohio governor Bob Taft heads the Center for Education Excellence at the University of Dayton, and he serves on the Ohio Advisory Board of Strong American Schools. As governor, Taft earned a strong reputation for school initiatives and provided significant leadership on education issues and continues to work to help states raise academic standards and close the "expectations gap" so that all high school students graduate ready for college and work. He is frequently sought for his education expertise, especially as it intersects with state and national policy.

Interviewed by: The Associated Press, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Plain Dealer

Quote: "Long term, obviously, we are not going to have a good economy unless we do a better job of investing wisely in education and improving our schools, and helping more kids graduate and go to college."


Tom LasleyThomas J. Lasley II, professor, education
937-229-5773; tlasley1@udayton.edu
PR Contact: Cameron Fullam, (o) 937-229-3256, (c) 937-212-2979, fullam@udayton.edu

Lasley is a nationally recognized leader in education reform and an expert on teacher education, classroom instruction and the impact of society and politics on schools. He has written several books and served on many education boards and committees including the Ohio Board of Regents Planning Committee on Higher Learning Accountability and Performance.

Interviewed by: The Chronicle of Higher EducationChristian Science Monitor

Quote: (On STEM education) "People understand job generation occurs out of these fields. I think everyone is calling for more intellectual capital. How do you get it? Increase graduates purposely focused on these areas."