Areas of Interest

  • Political Behavior; Campaigns and Elections
  • Political Geography; Redistricting


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of Chicago

At least some courses in the major should be designed around analytical techniques that are in demand by potential employers of B.A./B.S. degree holders.   In the context of my courses, this means I teach research design, statistics and data analysis techniques widely used in the consulting, interest group and social science research communities in Washington.

Many of my undergraduate advisees have found work in the Washington policy community and in government.  Others have worked their way into graduate school or law school.  Two of my best undergraduate students completed Ph.D. programs at Harvard and the University of Colorado, Boulder, and are now tenured faculty.  Recent graduates are currently pursuing Ph.D. level work at University of California, San Diego; University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin.   In the last few years, undergraduate advisees have found their way into highly visible law schools, including UCLA, Georgetown University, George Washington University, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Notre Dame.

Maryland undergraduates have taken their training from my course sequence in GIS for Social Science and applied it in the fields of legislative redistricting, public health, information management, disaster management, business, political campaigning, and public policy. 

I have coauthored research papers and books with a number of graduate students who are now in successful careers in academia, government and the private sector.   These include SoRelle Gaynor (College of the Holy Cross); Celeste Lay (Tulane University); Josh Dyck (University of Massachusetts, Lowell); Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz (University of Maryland, Public Policy); Rebecca Thorpe (University of Washington); John McTague (Towson University); Laura Hussey (University of Maryland, Baltimore County); David Armstrong (Western University (Ontario)); Jason Schuknecht (Westat); and Peter Burns (Soka University).  



My research in political behavior has involved the study of political geography and the analysis of contextual (local) effects on voting behavior, public opinion, and various forms of political participation, such as contributing time and money to political campaigns.   People's political viewpoints and actions are not distributed randomly across the geographic terrain but vary in interesting ways by location.  Sometimes these patterns are traceable to a particular collection of individual level traits that happen to have concentrated in an area, but other times there is structure and meaning imposed independently of a simple accounting of individual characteristics. 

I am very active in efforts to apply Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to the study of politics and policy, not only in the obvious area of redistricting, but for other subject matter, including voting, fundraising, population mobility, campaign travel and resource use, and other social science subject matter in sociology, economics, education, and other domains. 

I have been qualified by U.S. Federal Courts as an expert witness in several redistricting and voting cases.    I have been commissioned to write expert reports for federal and state level cases in Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

At the local level, I have recently worked on redistricting plans in Baltimore County, Maryland, and Nassau County, New York. 

I regularly attend academic conferences and publish peer-reviewed journal articles in visible academic journals across several social science fields.  


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jgimpel [at]
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