Daniel Weitzel

Assistant Professor

Colorado State University


Welcome to my website. I am an assistant professor of political methodology in the Department of Political Science at Colorado State University and a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Government at the University of Vienna. I received my Ph.D. in Government from the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 and was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Government at the University of Vienna between 2020-22.

My research interests focus on computational social science and the strategic behavior of political actors in elections. I use text as data and machine learning to study the interaction of political parties and voters in democracies. In my dissertation I examine the determinants and consequences of negative campaigning in electoral competition. I am also interested in estimating the prevalence and consequences of variation of political knowledge and information in the mass public and media.

I have received an M.Sc. in Statistics from the Department of Statistics and Data Science at the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to UT Austin I received an M.Sc. in Political Behaviour from the Department of Government of the University of Essex/England and a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the Institute of Political Science at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg/Germany.


  • Political Parties
  • Elections and Voting Behavior
  • Democracy
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Machine Learning
  • Survey Design and Methodology


  • Ph.D. Government, 2020

    University of Texas

  • M.Sc. Statistics, 2019

    University of Texas

  • M.Sc. Political Behaviour, 2014

    University of Essex

  • M.A. Political Science, 2013

    University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

  • B.A. Political Science and Sociology, 2011

    University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Under Review

A Measurement Gap? Effect of Survey Instrument and Scoring on the Partisan Knowledge Gap

Research shows that partisan gaps in political knowledge are wide and widespread. Using a series of experiments, we investigate the …

Electoral Democracy: Global, Historical Measures Based on Observables

Most crossnational indices of democracy rely centrally on coder judgments, which are susceptible to personal bias and error, and also …

Valence Attacks in Multi-Party Elections

How do political parties attack each other in multi-party systems? While voters in multi-party systems respond to attacks on the …

Electoral Contestation: A New Measure and an Empirical Test

The study of electoral competition generally focuses on districts or regions (rather than polities) or a narrow slice of democratic …


Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning

“Not News: Provision of Apolitical News in the U.S. News Media” (with Suriyan Laohaprapanon and Gaurav Sood). Working paper is available here, preliminary analysis based on over 5k cable news broadcasts can be found on Github.)

Voter Behavior and Knowledge

“Hidden Knowledge, Veiled Ignorance: Do People Know More – or Even Less – about Politics than Commonly Thought?” (with Robert C. Luskin, and Gaurav Sood)

“Misinformation about Misinformation? Of Headlines and Survey Design” (with Robert C. Luskin, Gaurav Sood, and Yul Min Park, early working paper)

Recent Posts

How to install R on Ubuntu

In this post I'll explain how to quickly install R on Ubuntu-based operating systems and make sure that R packages are installed with …

A Guide to Linux for Social Scientists

When I was a graduate student, I immensely benefitted from a friend's guide to Linux for social scientists. Unfortunately, that post is …

Error message org.freedesktop.Platform 20.08

Updating packages on my Ubuntu based Pop OS operating system recently I got an error message about the end of life of …

GlobalProtect VPN at Colorado State University

In order to be able to access CSU resources off campus or ssh into my work desktop I need to install the GlobalProtect VPN. The …

Reference Management Software

In every course that I teach I make it a point to stress the importance of a good literature and reference management system (LRMS) for …