Connor Daley

Conor Daley

Researching a National Divide

Research may not always involve test tubes or microscopes. But it always can lead to a practical application.

Connor Daley, a political science major from North Huntingdon, signed up for the Undergraduate Summer Opportunity for Applying Research (U-SOAR) program in 2021. Teaming with faculty member Terilyn Huntington, he researched, “American Political Polarization in an Age of Terror, ” in which he examined the fracture created by the 2000 United States presidential election, one he believes still exists in our country.

“Research in political science influences policymakers,” Terilyn says. “Political scientists are often called upon to serve in consulting positions and leadership roles in government. Their research is used to brief Congress about the effects of particular policies and also helps to inform journalists, reaching a more popular audience.”

Connor waded through various information sources to follow the effects of the election.

“The project helps to explain how the election created a fissure in American politics,” Terilyn says. “In the midst of this polarization, the 9/11 attacks signaled a short-lived period of unification and agreement in American political culture. Connor is researching how the decisions of presidential administrations during the Global War on Terror, and the public response to those decisions, have resulted in the current political polarization that he sees.”

Connor’s project could be useful to many people working in the political science field.

“Research in political science influences policymakers,” Terilyn says. “Political scientists are often called upon to serve in consulting positions and leadership roles in government. Their research is used to brief Congress about the effects of particular policies and also helps to inform journalists, reaching a more popular audience.”

2021 President's Report Cover

President's Report 2021

Read more stories from the 2021 annual report from Michael Driscoll, president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.