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reed magazine logoAutumn 2007
The Race. The first primaries are one month away. There are a host of front-runners on either side. Odds are wild and all bets are off. A resident political junkie calls the race. Paul Gronke speaking at Amanda Reed dinner

Political scientist Paul Gronke addresses the Amanda Reed Society Dinner in October. Orin Bassoff Photography

Paul Gronke, professor of political science and director of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College, is a prominent national scholar on U.S. voting behavior and the impact of emerging voting methods on election outcomes.

He is a consultant on the upcoming 2008 election for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Make Voting Work initiative and has recently completed a contract for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. He contributes to several political blogs, including Election Updates ( and BlueOregon (

Professor Gronke was the keynote speaker at the annual Amanda Reed Society Dinner on campus this fall. He spoke with Reed editor Mitchell Hartman in late October about the dynamics shaping the 2008 presidential election.

Reed: We’ve been through two very close, very contentious elections since 2000. How will the election of 2008 be different?

Paul Gronke: The biggest difference is that there’s no incumbent running. We don’t even have the vice president from the previous administration running, so that makes this unusual. The other thing is how badly the current administration is thought of by the public. We’re at historic lows for a president’s party. And there are a lot of candidates on both sides, because there are a lot of opportunities here.

The other difference is how much uncertainty there is in one party. That is, the Republican Party really doesn’t know what they’re doing here. There’s a vast amount of uncertainty about who’s going to run, whether they’re going to do very well.


reed magazine logoAutumn 2007