Key takeaways

  • Chris Tausanovitch, a UCLA associate professor of political science, has been awarded a 2024 fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 
  • The fellowship includes a $200,000 stipend that will enable Tausanovitch, who co-authored “The Bitter End: The 2020 Presidential Campaign and the Challenge to American Democracy,” to write a new book that examines polarization among today’s elected officials. 
  • After a one-year pause in 2022, the fellows program resumed with a focus on political polarization. 

UCLA associate professor of political science Chris Tausanovitch has been named a 2024 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. He joins 27 other fellows who were selected by the Carnegie Corporation for their work exploring the underlying causes of political polarization in the United States and how to strengthen the forces of cohesion and fortify democracy.

The fellowship’s $200,000 stipend will fund research time and assistance, the costs of running surveys on political representation as well as the writing of a book on how and why elected representatives fail to represent the views of their constituents, and why elected officials today are more polarized than the citizens they represent. 

“I feel humbled to be among the incredible current and former Carnegie Fellows, including several of my colleagues in the political science department at UCLA,” said Tausanovitch, whose research on political polarization is mandatory reading in the field. “I am honored to be chosen, both as a nominee by UCLA and ultimately as a fellow by the distinguished jury at the Carnegie Corporation.”

He will also be utilizing data from Nationscape, the largest academic public opinion survey to date, with 500,000 voters responding from June 2019 to January 2021. Nationscape was a project conducted with UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck, an inaugural Andrew Carnegie fellowship recipient.

Asked how his research informs the 2024 election, Tausanovitch refers to the results of long- and short-term trends as “calcification,” a term coined in the book “The Bitter End: The 2020 Presidential Campaign and the Challenge to American Democracy,” which he co-authored in 2022 with Vavreck and Jon Sides.

“Calcification means we can expect elections to be highly partisan, with only small numbers of voters switching sides,” he said. “The presidential election will be close because the parties are evenly matched nationally.”

He says that to understand how our politics might evolve, and what constructive role citizens can play, we need a better understanding of why there is so little representation of the middle of the political spectrum in American politics today.

“My research is informed by current politics and problems, but I always seek a broader understanding. We tend to be very myopic in our views of the political world and research can be a partial antidote to that,” he said.

Tausanovitch earned his bachelor’s degree from New York University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He has been a UCLA faculty member since 2012.