University of Pittsburgh
November 2, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Faculty Experts Available to Discuss Nov. 6 Elections

Voter confidence, voting rights, political communication, and Super PACs are among the topics professors can address
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The following University of Pittsburgh faculty experts are available to discuss the Nov. 6 elections and provide post-election analysis. 

Voter Confidence 

Cait Poynor Lamberton, an assistant professor of business administration and Fryrear Faculty Fellow in Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, studies how consumers and citizens make choices. Her most recent study, “Same Destination, Different Paths,” includes data obtained during the November 2008 presidential election showing that when a person learns that his or her peers have chosen the same political candidate—but for opposite reasons—that person is more likely to doubt his or her choice. The study, conducted with researchers at Ohio State University and Texas A&M University, is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Contact Lamberton at 412-779-7280 (cell) or 

Voting Rights

Jessie Allen, an assistant professor of law in Pitt’s School of Law, teaches civil procedure, legal ethics, and civil rights. Prior to joining the Pitt Law faculty, her litigation and policy analysis focused on voting rights. During the 2008 election cycle, she litigated voting rights issues as a senior attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization Advancement Project. She also was a staff attorney at New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, where she litigated criminal disenfranchisement cases, including a class action suit that challenged Florida’s permanent voting ban for anyone convicted of a felony. Contact Allen at 646-319-3113 (cell).

Political Communication

Gerald Shuster, an expert in presidential rhetoric and political communication in Pitt's Department of Communication in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is primarily interested in the political arena from a communications perspective, evaluating the effectiveness of the candidates’ communications with the public and analyzing communications theories and concepts in campaigns by the strategies candidates and political parties use. Shuster's expertise includes the modern presidency, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. Shuster’s insights and opinions are frequently sought by national and international media. Contact Gerald Shuster at 412-624-5199 (office) or

Super PACs and Corporate Political Activity

Barry Mitnick, a professor of business administration and of public and international affairs in Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, is available to comment on corporate political activity and the impact of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows unlimited spending from corporations and other organizations in elections; he is also available to comment on publicly reported contributions to Super PACs and 527 organizations, as well as corporate lobbying methods. Mitnick has written extensively on what is often called regulatory “capture,” where firms and business groups are able to create stable relationships with government regulators to influence regulation. The “capture” efforts can be a result of corporate political activity. Contact Barry Mitnick via Cara Masset in Pitt’s Office of Public Affairs at 412-624-4361 (office), 412-316-7508 (cell), or