• CV

Selected Research.


Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America. 2013. (Cambridge University Press)

Winner of the 2014 Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award, given by the Political Organizations and Parties organized section of the American Political Science Association.


Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America puts ideology front and center in the discussion of party coalition change. Treating ideology as neither a nuisance nor a given, the analysis describes the development of the modern liberal and conservative ideologies that form the basis of our modern political parties. Noel shows that liberalism and conservatism emerged as important forces independent of existing political parties. These ideologies then reshaped parties in their own image. Modern polarization can thus be explained as the natural outcome of living in a period, perhaps the first in our history, in which two dominant ideologies have captured the two dominant political parties



The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform. 2008. With Marty Cohen, David Karol and John Zaller (University of Chicago Press)

"Kind of an academic DaVinci Code for figuring out the presidential primary process." –Jason Zengerle

Replication materials.


Throughout the contest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, politicians and voters alike worried that the outcome might depend on the preferences of unelected superdelegates. This concern threw into relief the prevailing notion that -- such unusually competitive cases notwithstanding -- people, rather than parties, should and do control presidential nominations. But for the past several decades, The Party Decides shows, unelected insiders in both major parties have effectively selected candidates long before citizens reached the ballot box.

Tracing the evolution of presidential nominations since the 1790s, this volume demonstrates how party insiders have sought since America's founding to control nominations as a means of getting what they want from government. Contrary to the common view that the party reforms of the 1970s gave voters more power, the authors contend that the most consequential contests remain the candidates' fights for prominent endorsements and the support of various interest groups and state party leaders. These invisible primaries produce frontrunners long before most voters start paying attention, profoundly influencing final election outcomes and investing parties with far more nominating power than is generally recognized.






Which Long Coalition: The Creation of the Anti-Slavery Coalition
2013. Party Politics November 2013 vol. 19 no. 6 962-984. Published online before print February 27, 2012, doi: 10.1177/1354068811436031.


How are party coalitions shaped and reshaped? Elected officials choose coalitions to win elections, but they must work to maintain those coalitions. Non-elected political actors, advancing an ideology at odds with the party coalition, can undermine the party. This article explores this possibility in the case of partisan change on slavery in the Antebellum United States. Intellectuals in 1850 divided into two camps over slavery and the other major issues of the day at a time when slavery cross-cut the two parties in Congress. The ideological division matches one that develops in Congress a decade later, suggesting that the parties responded not just to electoral incentives, but also to this elite division.

As a conference paper, this piece won the APSA Political Organizations and Parties Section/Party Politics Award for best paper at the APSA Annual Meeting.


A Theory of Political Parties: Groups, Policy Demands and Nominations in American Politics
2012. With Kathleen Bawn, Marty Cohen, David Karol, Seth Masket and John Zaller. Perspectives on Politics. Vol. 10. No. 3.

Winner of the 2013 Heinz I Eulau Award for best article to appear in Perspectives on Politics.

Winner of the 2014 Jack Walker Award for best article on political parties, given by the Political Organizations and Parties organized section of the American Political Science Association.


    This article offers a theory of political parties that places interest groups and activists at its center. This is a departure from standard theories, which have politicians at the center. As we theorize them, parties no longer compete to win elections by giving voters the policies voters want. Rather, as coalitions of intense policy demanders, they have their own agendas and aim to get voters to go along.

Tea Party Influence: A Story of Activists and Elites
2012. With Michael Bailey and Jonathan Mummolo. American Politics Research.

The Coalition Merchants: The Ideological Roots of the Civil Rights Realignment
2012. Journal of Politics Vol. 74, No. 1, pp. 156-173.


Over the course of the twentieth century, the Democratic and Republican parties have reversed positions on racial issues. This reversal is credited to a variety of factors, chief among them strategic decisions on the part of party leaders competing for votes. An original dataset of the opinions expressed by political thinkers in leading magazines and newspapers is used to develop a measure of ideological positions parallel to NOMINATE scores for members of Congress. Results show that the current ideological pattern, in which racial and economic liberalism are aligned together, emerged among political intellectuals at least 20 years before it appeared in congressional voting. The finding is consistent with the view that ideology shapes party coalitions.

Request replication materials.


Serving Two Masters: Using Referenda to Assess the Relationship between Voters and Legislators
2012. (Available online March 2, 2011.) With Seth Masket. Political Research Quarterly.

The "Unfriending Problem": The Consequences of Friendship Attrition for Causal Estimates of Social Influence
2011. (Available online June16, 2011.) With Brendan Nyhan. Social Networks. Vol. 33. No. 3. 211-218

Cooperative Party Factions in American Politics
2010. With Gregory Koger and Seth Masket. American Politics Research: Vol. 38 No. 1 pp. 33-53.

Partisan Webs: Information Exchange and Party Networks
2009. With Gregory Koger and Seth Masket. British Journal of Political Science: Vol. 39 pp. 633–6537.



Ten Things Political Scientists Know that You Don't
2010. The Forum. Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 1-19, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1393, October 2010.


Don't Look to a Third Party Candidate
2011. with Seth Masket. op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. August 11, 2011.

Listening to the Coalition Merchants: Measuring the Intellectual Influence of Academic Scribblers
2007. The Forum: Vol. 5 : No. 3, Article 7.



Issues versus Ideology in Party Competition Racial Intolerance and the Right in 19 Democracies (With Paula Ganga)

The power of populist political appeals has been on the rise in Europe as the effects of the financial crisis have taken their toll on increasing numbers of voters. Racist and anti-immigrant attitudes are generally associated with the political right, but they do not have to be. Empirically, the association varies from country to country. This paper argues that the way in which the party system shapes ideology in a country determines how issues will be related to the left-right divide. Traditional views on the place of extremist parties within the political spectrum claim that the number of parties will result from the number of issues relevant in the society plus one (Lijphart 1984) and the success of extremist parties will depend on the relevance of the right wing agenda in the context of specific societal cleavages. Yet if the political space in which parties compete is an ideological space (Hinich and Munger 1994), one in which voters’ lack of information will be replaced with ideological cues when making decisions (Downs 1957), then the association between voters’ intolerance and voting for the Right will be strengthened. Using the latest data from the World Values Survey from 19 advanced democracies, this research will estimate individual-level preferences with regards to specific discriminated groups within a society. The individual-level data on intolerance and opinions on the Right will be paired with country-level factors assessing the influence of rightist parties. The results support the hypothesis that personal identification with the Right in the presence of ideological elements from the national arena dramatically increases racial intolerance levels. Similarly, the number of electoral parties will be positively associated with an increase in intolerance. Additionally, the periodic resurgence of right wing extremist parties from the 1980s to the present and the strengthening of their message’s appeal will also point to the ideological nature of the political space. The association between racism and the right will grow as these parties grow. Finally, the results also support the hypothesis that ideology replaces information through the effect of self-reported levels of interest in politics on intolerance. For voters of different levels of information the association with the Right will vary with the number of political parties in the system.

Separating Party from Ideology in Roll Call Data (or NOMINATE Scores Don't Measure Ideology, But They Can Be Made To.)

A Social Networks Analysis of Internal Party Cleavages in Presidential Nominations, 1972-2008

Presidential nomination politics has often revealed schisms within the party coalitions. But are these divisions long-standing or temporary? Do they reflect a chaotic party or a coordinating one? I use a dataset of more than 8000 presidential nomination endorsements from 1972 to 2008 to identify the network of support in the nominating party, as well as the key players in that dynamic. I then apply social networks analysis techniques, including exponential random graph models, to explain those networks. Analysis gives insight into who is important, what groups are stable, and what characteristics lead them to act together

From George McGovern to John Kerry: State-level models of presidential primaries, 1972-2004
(With Marty Cohen and John Zaller) (Presented at APSA 2003 and MPSA 2004, APSA 2010)

After the 1968 Democratic convention, a series of reforms were put into practice for presidential nominations that fundamentally changed the way we nominate candidates for that office. Initial analysis of the process (see esp. Bartels 1982) suggested that dynamic factors such as momentum dominate the process. We apply a set of common models of both dynamic and static factors to all presidential primary contests since the McGovern-Fraser reforms. We attempt to detect momentum effects but also the effects of ideological positioning, money, media and elite endorsements. Our model also accounts for the multi-candidate nature of these races in ways that earlier work has not. We discover that the notion of momentum has changed considerably since Carter first demonstrated its impact, and that today it tends to favor the insider rather than helping unknowns leap to prominence.

Without a Watchdog: The Effect of Quality News Coverage on Congressional Polarization
(With Marty Cohen and John Zaller) (Presented at APSA 2003, WPSA 2004, APSA 2004)

We consider the relationship between quality media coverage of members of Congress and the nature of representation. We find that were media coverage is of "high quality" (using a variety of measures), voters appear to exercise a delegate model of representation, in which MC's voting behavior closely maps constituent preferences. But where coverage is poor, voters may not have the information needed to hold MC's accountable, and those members operate under a responsible party government model, in which MC's voting behavior follows the party line. We test several implications of the mechanisms implied by this explanation of the empirical pattern.




  • The Party Decides: Coordiantion Success and Failure in the 2016 Presidential Nominations
    Keynote Slides

    Georgetown University/Universidad de Navarra Visiting Program (May 24, 2016)
    Canadian Political Science Association, Calgary, Alberta (May 31, 2016)
    AmerikaHaus, Vienna, Austria (June 13, 2016)
    Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (June 14, 2016)
    Universiteit van Amsterdam (June 15, 2016)
    Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen, Netherlands (June 16, 2016)
  • The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street: The Role of Ideological Movements in the U.S. Two Party System
    Keynote Slides

    Georgetown University Global Visiting Students Program (June 12, 2012)
    Dalhousie University (June 18, 2012)
    Saint Mary's University (June 19, 2012)
    University of Toronto (June 20, 2012)
    York University (June 20, 2012)
    Mississauga Chamber of Commerce (June 21, 2012)
    Mount Royal University (June 22, 2012)
    Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (October 2012)
  • Toward a Network Theory of Parties
    Keynote Slides

    University of Massachusetts, Computational Social Science Initiative (April 20, 2012)
    University of Colorado, Boulder, Political Networks Conference (June 16, 2012)
    University of Virginia, Political Parties, Past Present and Future (Oct. 8, 2012)

  • Political Parties and Movements: Applying Best Practices to Mexico

    Summer Global Visiting Students Program (June 11, 2013)

  • Political Parties and Coordination Problems
    Keynote Slides

    Tokyo Metropolitan Government visiting program (May 4, 2012)

  • Primary and General Elections in the United States
    Keynote Slides

    Spain and Argentina visiting program (Nov. 5, 2012)

  • Understanding the 2012 U.S. Election
    PowerPoint Slides

    Fudan University (Dec. 28, 2011)
    China Central Party School (May 21, 2012)
  • The 2014 Midterm Elections
  • The Coalition Merchants: Political Parties and Political Ideologies

    University of Virginia (Oct. 28, 2011)
    University of Denver (Nov. 8, 2011)
    University of Wisconsin, Madison (Nov. 16, 2011)
  • APSA Panel Networks.


GOVT 233: Political Parties (undergraduate students)

This is a course in one of the most significant elements of democratic politics, the political party. It is possible to think about and even describe government without reference to political parties. But since political parties permeate every aspect of most governments, any real understanding of civics requires an understanding of the roles that parties play.

After taking this course, students will understand parties from two important frameworks. The first is what we call “positive,” or what is the role of the political party. The second is “normative” or what should be the role of the political party. These two questions are of course bound up in each other, and we will discuss them in parallel. A better understanding of why parties are the way they are will perhaps inform our beliefs about how they should be. And different arguments about how parties should be no doubt have influenced the way they have come to be.


GOVT 727: Political Parties (graduate students)

This course explores the role of political parties in a democracy. We will engage the leading literature on how and why political parties form, and their consequences for policy, politics and democracy. We will consider the role of parties in a variety of settings, as well as consider how parties unite activity between settings. We will use a variety of methods and perspectives to get this leverage. We will focus on open questions in the literature, with an eye toward contributing to that debate.



At Georgetown

  • GOVT 008: Introduction to the U.S. Political System
  • GOVT 201: Analysis of Political Data I
  • GOVT 233: Political Parties
  • GOVT 357: The Road to Red and Blue America: The Evolution of Ideology in the United States
  • GOVT 410: The Evolution of Political Coalitions in the United States
  • GOVT 525: U.S. Political Parties
  • GOVT 627/727: Political Parties
  • GOVT 501/701: Analysis of Political Data (formerly 508)
  • GOVT 702: Advanced Political Analysis


  • PS 142A: Political Parties
  • PS 149-4: Political Coalitions: Parties and Ideology
  • PS 191C: The Road to Red and Blue America: The Evolution of Ideology in the United States

The Rest of Your Life: The award-winning comedy I made with the inestimable Chris Wieland.

  • Rita Anne Hartman Audience Award
    • AngelCiti Hollywood 2001
  • Sapphire Halo Audience Choice Award
    • AngelCiti Chicago 2001
  • Best Comedy
    • New York International Independent Film Festival 200


Social Networking


Social Networking Sites Policy: I am happy to accept friend requests from current and former students on Facebook or LinkedIn. I generally do not initiate such requests. I set the privacy settings to limit the areas of my life students can see on Facebook, and I strongly suggest that students do the same.



Chloé Yelena Miller's Writing Blog
Chloé Yelena Miller's Food Blog: Fare La Scarpetta
Enik Rising (Seth Masket)
The Monkey Cage
Our Man in L.A. (Chris Wieland)
Brendan Nyhan
Nolan McCarty
Simon Jackman
Anthony Clark Arend
The Vreelander (Jim Vreeland)
Doha Diary (Mark Rom)
Analyzing Congress (Charles Stewart III)
Right Side Up (Vivian Masket)
Vegetarian for Picky Eaters (Scott McClurg)


Associate Professor
Georgetown University


Hans Noel's research is on political coalitions, political parties and ideology, with a focus on the United States. He is the author of Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America, and a co-author of The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform. He is interested in the way that a focus on competing policy demands helps explain political parties, coalition building and coordination. Noel blogs on political parties and related issues at Mischiefs of Faction, and occasionally at The Monkey Cage.

Noel teaches on parties, elections, political history and political methodology, and he has lectured around the world on the American political system.

Noel was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 2008 to 2010. Before coming to Georgetown, Noel was a fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 from UCLA. From 1994 to 1997, Noel worked for a daily newspaper in Virginia. He is the co-director/co-producer of the award-winning feature film "The Rest of Your Life."


Contact Information

Department of Government
Georgetown University
ICC 592
Washington, DC 20057

202-687-7871 (Office)
202-687-5858 (Fax)



Social Networking Sites Policy: I am happy to accept friend requests from current and former students on Facebook or LinkedIn. I generally do not initiate such requests. I set the privacy settings to limit the areas of my life students can see on Facebook, and I strongly suggest that students do the same.