Photo: Josh DarrJoshua Darr

Assistant Professor
204 Hodges Hall | 225-578-0395 |



Joshua Darr received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He also obtained a master’s in political science with an emphasis on American Politics, political communication and methodology at Penn, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College. His research focuses on the placement and effects of campaign field offices, the importance of local newspapers for voter learning and political awareness, and the ability of campaigns to influence the quantity and tone of their local media coverage.


Selected Publications

Darr, Joshua P. (2018). "Earning Iowa: Local Newspapers and the Invisible Primary." Accepted, Social Science Quarterly.
Can presidential candidates influence their coverage in Iowa’s smaller local newspapers during the months leading up to the caucuses? I use an original dataset of campaign press releases and local newspaper coverage to show that press releases were used primarily for information dissemination in Iowa in 2015-16, while small, weekly community newspapers hardly covered the campaign.

Darr, Joshua P. (2018). "Reports from the Field: Earned Local Media in Presidential Campaigns." Presidential Studies Quarterly, first published February 16, 2018. (ungated) (gated) (online appendix)
Campaigns attract attention from local media by appealing to the news values of proximity and conflict. I find that candidates receive more stories in the local press in areas where they establish a presence. By subsidizing locally framed content, campaigns can increase their local earned media, with larger effects in competitive states and areas without investments in previous elections.

Darr, Joshua P., and Johanna L. Dunaway. (2017). "Resurgent Mass Partisanship Revisited: The Role of Media Choice in Clarifying Elite Ideology." American Politics Research, first published October 24, 2017. (ungated) (gated) (online appendix)
We examine whether cable news choice shapes respondents’ ability to correctly identify Democrats as the more liberal party, and Republicans as more conservative. Using cross-sectional and panel data, we find that partisan news consumers—particularly those watching Fox News—are better able to identify the positions and ideologies of partisan elites. Partisan news may help citizens participate more effectively by helping them identify the ideological orientation of the major parties and candidates.

Darr, Joshua P. (2016). "Presence to Press: How Campaigns Earn Local Media." Political Communication, 33 (3), 503-522. (ungated) (gated).
I employ an original data set of newspaper content and campaign investment from the 2004 and 2008 elections. I utilize a within-state matched-pairs design of newspapers from the state of Florida and a detailed content analysis of stories from 21 randomly selected days from each election cycle. I find that regional campaign presence generates positive earned media, but only in smaller newspapers. 

Darr, Joshua P., and Matthew S. Levendusky. (2014). "Relying on the Ground Game: The Placement and Effects of Campaign Field Offices." American Politics Research, 42 (3), 529-548. (ungated) (gated) (supplemental appendix).
We develop a theoretical argument about where candidates will locate field offices, and test our argument using data from recent elections. We also show that these field offices increase county-level vote share by approximately 1%, netting Obama approximately 275,000 additional votes in the 2008 election.