Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Barker has authored or co-authored three university press books and dozens of peer-reviewed political science journal articles on the subjects of American political parties, campaigns/elections, representation, culture/polarization, ideology/attitudes, information/communication, and institutions (Congress and the Presidency). He has served as the principal investigator on more than 60 grant/contract-supported research projects- totaling more than $10 million- including support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, HUD, and many others. His first book, Rushed to Judgment: Talk Radio, Persuasion, and American Political Behavior (2012, Columbia University Press), was nominated for several national awards. Barker's second book, Representing Red and Blue: How the Culture Wars Changed the Way Citizens Speak and Politicians Listen (2012, Oxford University Press) has been featured in prominent national media outlets including The Washington Post and Vox. His third book, One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy is forthcoming in 2018.
Examines the causes of polarized fact perceptions- the tendency for Democrats and Republicans to believe very different things when it comes to empirical reality- and the consequences associated with that phenomenon.
Demonstrates and explains how Republicans and Democrats want, and get, very different styles of political representation in the United State, with Democratic policymakers being much more inclined to take cues from constituents and Republicans are more likely to "stand on principle."
Documents and explains the role that evangelical Christian dogma- specifically, "End Times" theology- plays in shaping conservative opposition to addressing climate change.
Documents and explains the relationship between traditionalistic Christian dogma, nationalism, and militaristic policy preferences in the United States.
Presents a simplified theory of moral understanding and political ideology, showing that the differences between liberals and conservatives can be boiled down to whether one defines morality primarily in terms of empathy or discipline.
Demonstrates the independent impact of partisan media- in this case, political talk radio- over public opinion, turnout, vote choice, and political knowledge.
Barker is frequently quoted in and cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Atlantic, and several other national media outlets.