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Who Likes Political Science?: Determinants of Senators' Votes on the Coburn Amendment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2010

Joseph E. Uscinski
University of Miami
Casey A. Klofstad
University of Miami


In October 2009, political scientists learned of a Senate amendment sponsored by Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would eliminate political science funding from the National Science Foundation budget. The American Political Science Association condemned the proposed amendment, and concerned political scientists contacted their senators to urge the amendment's defeat. On November 5, 2009, the amendment was defeated 36-62 after little debate. This article examines the vote on the Coburn Amendment to understand the role that senators' personal, constituency, and institutional characteristics played in their votes. Logit analysis reveals that even after controlling for party, several factors significantly predict the vote, including the number of top-tier political science Ph.D. programs in the senator's state and whether the senator graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2010

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