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What Americans Want from Politicians — And What They’re Not Getting: Sean Westwood
American politics are often dominated by the loudest voices on the left and right. In the next episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground,” we learn the crucial difference between what Americans get from their elected representatives and what they really want to hear.
Professor Sean Westwood of Dartmouth College is our guest. As Director of The Polarization Research Lab, he studies American political behavior and public opinion, examining how partisanship and information from political elites affect the behavior of citizens.
“There is an absolute need for common ground,” Sean Westwood tells us. The research shows that most Democrats and Republicans “know very little about the other side and have significant misperceptions.”
We learn why elites, including political leaders and celebrities, have a powerful impact on public behavior. “When we humanize the opposition and bring politicians together and demonstrate how they can have civil disagreement, you set norms that the public will follow,” he says.
Sean Westwood is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. He studies political behavior and public opinion, examining how partisanship and information from political elites affect the behavior of citizens. His work focuses on understanding where partisan biases originate, where they manifest (inside and outside political domains), and their bounds.
His work has been covered by The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Vox, Foreign Affairs, New Republic, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fortune, Financial Times, Bloomberg, NPR, New York Magazine, USA Today and other local outlets.