Master thesis (University of Mannheim, 2013)
More Than Just Kissing Babies: The Strategy of Campaign Visits in United States Presidential Elections
Every four years, the Democratic and Republican parties each send out a nominee to tour the country, press the flesh and convince the American people to put them into the White House. In my Master thesis, I analyse how candidates decide where to hold their campaign events. To this end, I employ a poisson regression on data from the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. I find that the competitiveness of a state as well as its number of votes in the electoral college serve as an excellent predictor of campaign visits. Beneath the state level, candidates from both parties focus their efforts on cities and regions which support them politically.
Master thesis (Penn State, 2017)
Fair and Balanced? News Media Bias in the Photographic Coverage of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
The 2016 presidential election has renewed discussions about the impartiality of the news media. Scholars have studied this issue extensively, investigating newspapers, television and online news, yet the basic question remains unsettled: Is the media biased? In this paper, I focus on popular news websites covering campaign rallies held during the 2016 presidential election campaign. I apply computer vision techniques to photos of supporters, automatically identifying characteristics such as age, gender and emotions of the attendants. Contrary to expectations, news outlets do not seem to have featured more positive pictures of their co-partisans. Even more surprising, and defying the popular notion of a left-leaning media landscape, the quantity and quality of images across both liberal and conservative news outlets actually appears to have favored Donald Trump.