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Senator Coburn wants to defund political science research

Today Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has proposed an amendment (No. 2631) (PDF) to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2847) which would eliminate the National Science Foundation’s program for political science research.

I don’t understand this anti-intellectual sentiment that can equate CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC with real academic analysis. There’s absolutely *no* comparison between CNN et al and the American National Election Studies (ANES) and the other important political science research funded by NSF. ANES is a national survey of voters after every presidential election since 1948 widely considered the gold standard of election studies (Disclosure: Stanford University, my employer, is one of the partner institutions that manages the ANES)

Please help the American Political Science Association by signing the petition and contacting your Senator, urging them to vote down the Coburn amendment.

The largest award over the last 10 years under the political science program has been $5.4 million for the University of Michigan for the “American National Election Studies” grant. The grant is to “inform explanations of election outcomes.” The University of Michigan may have some interesting theories about recent elections, but Americans who have an interest in electoral politics can turn to CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, the print media, and a seemingly endless number of political commentators on the internet who pour over this data and provide a myriad of viewpoints to answer the same questions. There is no shortage of data or analysis in this field that would require the government to provide funding for additional analysis.

[Thanks Steve Benen, Political Animal!]

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