Wilson Center Newsletter

October 2012 Volume 6 Issue 7


Parties & Elections at Hampden-Sydney College



Dr. James Pontuso -Patterson Professor of Government & Foreign Affairs

Hampden-Sydney men have accurately predicted the last six presidential elections. It has been a group effort of the Parties & Elections classes taught at the College every other fall - during election years. We divide up the states among students who then look at past election data, fund-raising efforts, current polls, and commentary from pundits to predict which candidate will win the electoral votes in their assigned states. We also predict Senate and House races. Since 1988 we have correctly picked the winner of the presidential contest, although sometimes our forecast on the final Electoral College tally has been off. We have been pretty close predicting the party make-up of the Senate and not bad in the case of the House, although getting an accurate count for 435 elections is always tricky.   Parties and Elections

Crossroads: The Stakes of the 2012 Election

by Dr. James Ceaser


James W. Ceaser is the Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1976, and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author or co-author of 15 books on American politics and American political thought, including Designing a Polity, Epic Journey, Nature and History in American Political Thought, and Reconstructing America. He has also published over 60 articles and book chapters in outlets such as the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and the Review of Politics. He serves on the editorial boards of The Forum, National Affairs, The Tocqueville Review, Perspectives on Political Science, and American Political Thought.

Professor Ceaser is a presidential appointee to the National Archives Commission (NHPRC) and the academic advisor to the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America's Founding Principles and History. In the past he has served as a consultant for the American Bar Association's Committee on Elections and on APSA's nominating committee. He has done research in Italy on a Fulbright fellowship and taught as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Basel, and he has held visiting professorships at Princeton, Oxford, Harvard, and seven other universities. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Bordeaux and from Kenyon College, his alma mater.


Ceaser Ceaser&Student


Debate Watch 2012

Trey Price '14


President Barrack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney squared off earlier this month in the first of a series of presidential debates. The debate was watched by more than 60 million people, including a group of Hampden-Sydney students in the Wilson Center.  

     As the debate opened, it became evident to students that there seemed to be more than two candidates on the stage. The moderator, Lehrer of PBS, frequently interjected between points on both sides.

    Governor Romney was the clear victor of the debate. He quickly established his five point plan for not only the economy, but also for his plans to address the growing power of Iran, and its nuclear capability. Romney frequently cut to the chase, challenging the President not only on his monetary inefficiency, but also on his inability to lead in a world where the United States has fallen behind competing international powers. Romney stared down the cameras as if attempting to get through to potential voters.

    After the debate, I asked for a display of hands to determine how many students thought Romney won the debate, and how many thought President Obama won the debate. The vote was almost unanimously in favor of Governor Romney. It is well known that Hampden-Sydney students have a tendency to support conservative politicians. 

Debate Watch

Students gather in the living room of the Wilson Center to watch the first of the 2012 presidential debates.


The Candidates, Religion and the 2012 Election

Dr. Michael Utzinger, Associate Dean of Faculty and Elliott Professor of Religion

Dr. Matthew Bowman, Visiting Professor of Religion



Bowman      Utzinger

Dr. Matthew Bowman                                                      Dr. Michael Utzinger


Monthly Features

Upcoming Events


Annual Trip to the Hill


DC Alumni Event

"The Changing Role of Giving in the Making of Public Policy" 


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Events Roundup


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Student/Alumni News

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Center Leadership