Jin Woo Kim

The Kavanaugh confirmation polarized women and motivated them to vote


Jin Woo Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science at Dartmouth College, recently authored a Monkey Cage article on the effect of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh on political polarization in the United States.  Kim's findings are based on an experiment using over 4,000 United States residents that was carried out via Amazon Mechanical Turk. He first surveyed his subjects in early October 2018 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating allegations that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault as a teenager. Kim then contacted his respondents a second time several days later, randomizing the timing of survey invitation so that half of the his participants responded to a follow-up survey before the Senate floor vote and the other half responded after. Results from the study indicate that the Kavanaugh confirmation vote polarized opinions toward the parties among women.  Specifically, Republican-leaning women expressed greater interest in voting for Republicans and independent women expressed greater interest in voting for Democratic candidates after the confirmation vote (compared to before it took place).

Brendan Nyhan, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, who has worked with Kim since he came to Dartmouth, also noted that Kim's findings provide important new evidence for how the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings helped to polarize opinion toward the Supreme Court. In his Monkey Cage article, Kim finds the gap in partisan approval of the Court increased by nine percentage points among men and 19 percentage points among women after the confirmation vote.

Kim received his doctorate in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.  He has been at Dartmouth since 2017 and is currently working on several research projects examining whether factual information can change partisan minds and whether political rumor diffusion affects mass opinions.

QSS Postdoc wins Top Paper Award


Jin Woo Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science at Dartmouth College, recently won the Top Paper Award from the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association.  This award was for the paper Switching On and Off: Rethinking Partisan Selective Exposure.  The paper’s abstract is as follows:

Despite concern that selective exposure to congenial sources drives partisans to disagree about even purely factual matters, existing empirical research finds little to mixed evidence that most Americans do seek out like-minded sources of information. In this paper, we suggest an alternative conceptualization of selective exposure; people choose when to pay attention to politics, instead of which ideological sources to follow, such that they avoid politics altogether in the times when they anticipate unpleasant information. We argue that presidential performance shapes such expectations, which would, in turn, create divergent overtime ebbs and flows in the levels of political engagement across partisan groups. Drawing on two multi-wave survey datasets, we find partisans display a lower level of political interest and media consumption during a politically disappointing period. Our findings suggest that that the stream of information that Democrats receive in the long run can be different from Republicans, even if partisans follow mostly central news sources.

Jin received his PhD in Communications in 2017 from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is working with Professor Brendan Nyhan on a series of studies that examine how debates on social media create misperceptions about the extremity and incivility of partisan outgroups and increase polarization and negative affect toward them. Jin's other projects include a study that draws on observational data to identify the effect of online rumoring and a study that examines the role of evidence strength in political persuasion.