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Archive for September, 2013

UNL expert alert: Understanding Partisan Gridlock in Washington

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Washington is expected to once more descend into partisan gridlock as Congress wrestles in coming weeks with the budget, the debt ceiling, the Farm Bill and other domestic issues.

Two political scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — John Hibbing and Kevin Smith – are among the nation’s leading experts on the differences between liberal and conservative thinking. In the most literal sense. Their research studies the biological differences in the brain processes and emotional responses of conservatives and liberals.

“Elected leaders, partisan officials and members of the media deserve a good deal of the blame for the sorry state of the country’s political affairs, but it is time to recognize that the roots of gridlock can be traced to deep differences in the predispositions of ordinary people,” Hibbing says.

Hibbing and Smith believe that wider understanding of those biological differences can help bridge the divide between Republicans and Democrats.

For interviews,  contact Kevin Smith, UNL professor of political science, at 402-570-3082 or  email  at

Contact John Hibbing, UNL  Foundation Regents professor of political science, at 402-817-9623 or

For photos of Smith and Hibbing, go to: