Gregg Murray profile photo

Gregg Murray

Professor of Political Science | Department of Social Sciences


Murray's research focuses on political behavior and psychology with specific interests in voter mobilization during the COVID-19 pandemic.








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Murray is a professor of political science at Augusta University. His research focuses on political behavior with specific interests in voter mobilization and turnout. His research has appeared in journals such as American Politics Research, Expert Systems with Applications, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Political Marketing, Political Psychology, Political Research Quarterly, Politics and the Life Sciences, Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and Social Science Research. He is also the Executive Director of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences and author of the “Caveman Politics” blog at Psychology Today. He teaches courses on political behavior and research methods. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 2003.

Areas of Expertise

PoliticsPolitical Behavior and ResearchVoter MobilizationTerrorismSocial Science ResearchLeadership


  • Association for Politics and the Life Sciences
  • Psychology Today

Media Appearances

How to raise a political mini-me

Chicago Tribune  


The bad news for those seeking to improve their odds is that most of us already marry people with compatible political values. And the bad news for men is that if the parents do differ politically, the kids are somewhat more likely to end up agreeing with their mom, according to Gregg R. Murray, an associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University...

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Voters Size Up 2016 Presidential Candidates: Who’s the Tallest?

The Wall Street Journal  


Height brings a distinct advantage to a political candidate, says Gregg R. Murray, an associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, reflecting what he thinks is a sense many people have that a taller leader is a stronger one. “In particular, during times of threat, we have a preference for physically formidable leaders,” said Mr. Murray, who started studying public attitudes toward presidential heights five years ago, inspired by a 6-foot-7 graduate student...

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Tanned and toned, but ‘bodybuilder’ Bobby Jindal totaled in push-up contest

The American Bazaar  


Forget the ‘Presidential Height Index’ created by Gregg R. Murray and J. David Schmitz which observed that taller candidates have won 58% of US presidential contests between 1789 and 2008. That index didn’t help former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, at 6 feet 4 inches, to win the presidency, in 2012. If he had done so, he would have tied Abraham Lincoln for being the tallest president. Barack Obama became president again, despite being fully three inches shorter than Santorum...

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Caveman politics: why it's height that really matters in the corridors of power

The Independent  


"Some traits and instincts that may have been acquired through evolution continue to manifest themselves in modern life," said Gregg R Murray, political science professor and co-author of the report. "We believe similar traits exist in politics."...

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An Experimental Test for “Backlash” Against Social Pressure Techniques Used to Mobilize Voters | American Politics Research


This research explores the possibility of psychological reactance, or “backlash,” against political candidates who use social pressure to mobilize voters. There is a compelling theoretical argument and solid empirical evidence suggesting social pressure substantially increases voter turnout.

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Caveman Politics: Evolutionary Leadership Preferences and Physical Stature | Social Science Quarterly


Following evolutionary psychology, we argue that physical stature matters in preferences regarding political leadership. Particularly, a preference for physically formidable leaders evolved to promote survivability in the violent human ancestral history.

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Microtargeting and Electorate Segmentation: Data Mining the American National Election Studies | Journal of Political Marketing


Business marketers widely use data mining for segmenting and targeting markets. To assess data mining for use by political marketers, we mined the 1948 to 2004 American National Elections Studies data file to identify a small number of variables and rules that can be used to predict individual voting behavior, including abstention, with the intent of segmenting the electorate in useful and meaningful ways.

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