A shaft of late afternoon sunlight falls on the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol and row of residential homes along the lakeshore of Monona Bay near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus during autumn on Nov. 18, 2010. ©UW-Madison University Communications 608/262-0067 Photo by: Jeff Miller Date: 11/10 File#: NIKON D3 digital frame 1989

The Madison skyline with the Wisconsin State Capitol at the center (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

I study relationships between the mass public, the news media, and concentric circles of political elites. This includes assessing journalistic norms and practices, measuring changes in digital news content, and exploring how both citizens and officials navigate a shifting landscape of political information.

My research focuses on two primary areas. I am currently developing a book project, entitled The Blind Scorekeepers, which examines the role of public opinion data in news coverage of American politics.

Additionally, building on work I completed during my time as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, I am investigating “news avoidance” and infrequent news use, or why some people rarely follow the news.

Refereed Articles

Toff, Benjamin. (In Press). “The ‘Nate Silver Effect’ on Political Journalism: Gatecrashers, Gatekeepers, and Changing Newsroom Practices Around Coverage of Public Opinion Polls.” Journalism.

Cramer, Katherine J., and Benjamin Toff. (In Press). “The Fact of Experience: Rethinking Political Knowledge and Civic Competence.” Perspectives on Politics.

Under Review

Toff, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Suhay. “Partisan Conformity, Social Identity, and the Formation of Policy Preferences.” (Revise & Resubmit)

Toff, Benjamin, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. “‘I’ll Just Google It’: Folk Theories of Distributed Discovery.” (Under Review)

Research in Progress

“How News Feels: Ambivalence and Avoidance Among Infrequent News Users” (with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)

“Correlates of News Use: Understanding Variation in Audiences for News Online, Offline, Across Countries, and Over Time.” (with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)

“The Changing Dynamics of Presidential Candidate Selection.”

“Elite Ideology Across Media: Constructing a Measure of Congressional Candidates’ Ideological Self-Presentation on Social Media.” (with David Lassen)

“Words That Matter: Partisan Polarization in Networked Politics.” (with Young Mie Kim).

“Revisiting Press-State Relations in the Digital Age: Partisan Coalitions on Twitter.” (with Young Mie Kim and David Lassen)

Other Publications

Toff, Benjamin. (2016). “Polls may be making voters worse at predicting elections.” Washington Post, Monkey Cage blog. Nov. 18. Available here.


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