Robert Speel, Ph.D.

Robert Speel, Ph.D.
Program Chair and Associate Professor, Political Science
Director, The Public Policy Initiative at Penn State Behrend
156 Kochel

Mailing Address:
ERIE, PA 16563

Dr. Robert Speel earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. His teaching and research interests include most aspects of American politics, including elections and voting behavior, state and urban politics, Congress and the Presidency, and public policy, as well as ethnic and racial politics and Canadian politics.

Penn State University Press published his book, Changing Patterns of Voting in the Northern United States, about the creation of the regional divide of Red States and Blue States in the United States.

He currently continues to research the development of regional movements and regional voting behavior in the United States and often speaks with media sources and to community groups about political campaigns and issues.

Dr. Speel is the recipient of 2008-09 Council of Fellows Excellence in Outreach Award and the 2006 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Courses Taught

  • PL SC 001, Introduction to American National Government
  • PL SC 002, American Public Policy
  • PL SC 123, Ethnic and Racial Politics
  • PL SC 130, American Campaigns and Elections
  • PL SC 177, Politics and Government in Washington DC
  • PL SC 296, Independent Studies
  • PL SC 299, Foreign Studies
  • PL SC 480W, Congress and the Presidency
  • PL SC 482, American State and Urban Politics
  • PL SC 494, Research Project
  • PL SC 495, Political Science Internship
  • PL SC 499, Foreign Study—Government
  • PSU 007, First-Year Seminar Behrend

Disruption and Routine: Choosing a Speaker in the United States Compared to Canada, Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law - March, 2023
Collaborator: Gregory Inwood

With Raphael Warnock’s reelection, Congress’s club of pastor politicians holds on to one of its few members, Appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), El Paso Inc, and other news sources - December, 2022

Measuring a President's First 100 Days Goes Back to the New Deal, published in print or online in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, International Business Times, and many other publications - April, 2021

With his Win, Georgia's Raphael Warnock Becomes Member of Select Club: Pastor Politician, Buffalo News, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Tulsa World, The Forward, - January, 2021

Out with the old? Donald Trump’s conduct during and after the election appeared extraordinary, but a look at US history challenges that, Index on Censorship - December, 2020

Why Do So Few Clergy Serve in Congress?, Savannah Morning News, Boston Globe, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, America (Jesuit magazine), Word & Way (Baptist magazine) - December, 2020

A History of Contested Presidential Elections, From Samuel Tilden to Al Gore, Smithsonian magazine, Fast Company magazine, Live Science website,, El Universo (Ecuador), El Correo (Spain), The Independent (Uganda), Harrisburg Patriot-News - November, 2020

Trump 2024? Presidential Comebacks Have Mixed Success, Alternet,, Philadelphia Tribune, Milwaukee Independent, Telemundo - November, 2020

County of Residence Often All That Counts in Pennsylvania Primaries, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Erie Times-News, Sunbury Daily Item - July, 2020

What Past Impeachments Reveal About Trump's Future Legacy, The Globe Post - February 12, 2020

Trump and Mueller Investigation: To Impeach or Not to Impeach, The Globe Post - April 24, 2019

You'll Hear These Four Arguments in Defense of the Electoral College - Here's Why They're Wrong - March 27, 2019

3 Scholars Respond to Trump's State of the Union: Investigating Doesn't Rule Out Legislating - February 6, 2019

Seven Ways to Pay for Border Wall and End US Government Shutdown, The Globe Post - January 14, 2019

Democrats Won in 2018, But Will They Win in 2020?, The Globe Post - November 9, 2018

In Feud With Senate Leaders, Trump Different from Previous Presidents, The Globe Post - August 13, 2017

Dropping out of the Electoral College, Cornell Policy Review - May 12, 2017

Trump and the History of the First 100 days, Syndicated by The Conversation. Article was cited in a New York Times column by David Leonhardt on April 26. Posted on websites for International Business Times, Business Standard (India), Live Science, The Raw Story, History News Network, and San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Over 31,000 online readers as of January 2018 - April 19, 2017

Three Common Arguments for Preserving the Electoral College -- And Why They're Wrong - November 14, 2016

A "Rigged" Vote? Four US Presidential Election with Contested Results - November 1, 2016

Five Key Debate Moments That Altered the Course of a Presidential Race - September 22, 2016

Pennsylvania Presidential Primary Process, Election 2016: Research Behind the Race, a Penn State University Election Blog - April, 2016

Senate and CIA Dispute - April 10, 2014

The Most Fundamental Right: Contrasting Perspectives on the Voting Rights Act , Journal of American History - September, 2013

Hometown Appeal of Judicial Candidates, The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 31, 2013

PA Voters Pick State Judges Solely By Geography, Erie Times-News - May 29, 2013

Voters Judge Judicial Candidates By Geography, Scranton Times-Tribune - May 28, 2013

Presidential Candidates and Their Home States, Centre Daily Times, State College, PA - November 04, 2012

It's Time to Abolish the Electoral College - September, 2011

Time to Stop Electing Appellate Court Judges - May 20, 2011

School Vouchers Violate State Constitutition - February, 2011

Political Satire - 2010

Judicial Elections a Poor Show of Democracy - May 18, 2009

Voting Patterns - 2008

Rev. of The Liberals’ Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party, by Bruce Miroff, Political Science Quarterly - 2008

Rev. of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, Centre Daily Times - October 19, 2008

A New Kind of Realignment, Rev. of Electoral Realignment and the Outlook for American Democracy, by Arthur Paulson, Review of Politics - March, 2008

Rev. of Understanding Affirmative Action: Politics, Discrimination, and the Search for Justice, by J. Edward Kellough, Perspectives on Political Science - July, 2007

Rev. of Patchwork Nation: Sectionalism and Political Change in American Politics, by James G. Gimpel and Jason E. Schuknecht, Perspectives on Political Science - January, 2005

The Evolution of Republican and Democrat Ideologies, Rev. of Party Ideologies in America 1828–1996, by John Gerring, Journal of Policy History - July, 2000

The Persistence of Regional Divisions in American Electoral Politics, Regional & Federal Studies - 1999

Changing Patterns of Voting in the Northern United States: Electoral Realignment 1952–1992 - August, 1998

The Persistence of Regional Divisions in American Electoral Politics, Clio - 1997

Changes in Partisan Voting Among Protestant Denominations in the U.S. 1952–1992 - 1997

Ph D, Government, Cornell University

MA, Government, Cornell University

BA, Political Science and Sociology, The University of Pennsylvania