About Me

I joined the political science faculty at Binghamton University (SUNY) in 2013 after previously holding positions at the University of Missouri, Leiden University (the Netherlands), and Syracuse University. My research and teaching interests include political parties, elections, electoral rules, voting behavior, and representation in democratic systems of government. 



You can find a copy of my cv here


My research broadly addresses representation in democratic systems of government. I am specifically interested in the roles that political parties play in elections, legislatures, and governments, as well as the ways in which voters and parties are constrained by the rules that govern elections.

Several of my current research projects investigate sources of electoral change across established democracies, focusing on declining support for mainstream parties of the left and right. Other projects address general aspects of representation, such as congruence, responsiveness, and polarization. I also work with the gerrymandering team at Binghamton University on establishing standards to detect partisan gerrymanders in the United States.

Representation             Political Parties                Elections                 Electoral Rules                  Gerrymandering
 Journal Articles

Krasno, Jonathan, Daniel B. Mgelby, Michael D. McDonald, Shawn Donahue, and Robin E. Best. "Can Gerrymanders Be Detected? An Examination of Wisconsin's State Assembly." forthcoming in American Politics Research.

Best, Robin E., Daniel B. Magleby, and Michael D. McDonald. “Detecting Florida’s Gerrymander: A Lesson for Law and Social Science. Forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly.

Best, Robin E., Shawn J. Donahue, Jonathan Krasno, Daniel B. Magleby, and Michael D. McDonald. 2018.“Considering the Prospects for Establishing a Packing Gerrymandering Standard.” Election Law Journal 17(1): 1-20.


Best, Robin E., Shawn J. Donahue, Jonathan Krasno, Daniel B. Magleby, and Michael D. McDonald. 2018.“Authors’ Response – Values and Validations: Proper Criteria for Comparing Standards for Packing Gerrymanders.” Election Law Journal 17(1); 82-84.


Best, Robin E., Ian Budge, and Michael D. McDonald. 2017. “Jettisoning Illusions About the Mandate.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 43(1): 11-20.

McDonald, Michael D. and Robin E. Best. 2015. “Unfair Partisan Gerrymanders in Politics and Law: A Diagnostic Applied to Six Cases.”  Election Law Journal, 14(4): 312-330.


Best, Robin E. and Andrei Zhirnov. 2015. "The Perils and Pitfalls of Ignoring Disproportionality's Behavioral Components." Electoral Studies, 40: 256-267.


Best, Robin E. 2013. How Party System Fragmentation has Altered Political Opposition in Western Democracies. Government and Opposition, 48(3): 314-342.


McDonald, Michael D., Ian Budge, and Robin E. Best. 2012. Electoral Majorities, Political Parties, and Collective Representation.” Comparative Political Studies, 45(9): 1104–1131.


Best, Robin E. 2012. The Long and the Short of It: Electoral Laws and the Dynamics of Party System Size in Western Democracies, 1950-2005.” European Journal of Political Research, 51(2): 147-165.


Best, Robin E., Ian Budge and Michael D. McDonald. 2012. Representation as a Median Mandate versus Bilateralism: Taking a Cross-National Perspective. European Journal of Political Research, 51(1): 1-23.


Best, Robin E. 2011.The Declining Electoral Relevance of Traditional Cleavage Groups.European Political Science Review, 3(2): 279-300.


Best, Robin E., and Steve B. Lem. 2011. "Electoral Volatility, Competition, and Third Party Candidacies in US Gubernatorial Elections." Party Politics, 17(5): 611-628.


Best, Robin E. 2010. Increasing Irrationality? The Equilibrium Relationship between Electoral and Legislative Party System Size, 1950–2005.” Electoral Studies, 29(1): 105-116.


McDonald, Michael D., and Robin Best. 2006. Equilibria and Restoring Forces in Models of Vote Dynamics.” Political Analysis, 14(4): 369-392.

Book Chapters

Magleby, Daniel B., Michael D. McDonald, Jonathan Krasno, Shawn J. Donahue, and Robin E. Best. “Analyzing Gerrymandering’s Offense to Electoral Integrity.” Forthcoming in Challenges of U.S. Electoral Integrity. Eds. Pippa Norris, Sarah Cameron and Thomas Wynter. New York: Oxford University Press.


Best, Robin E. and Michael D. McDonald. 2016. “Models in Political Science: Forms and Purposes. In Hans Keman and Jaap Woldendorp (eds.) Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Political Science. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Best, Robin E. 2013. “Using Manifesto Left-Right Estimates to “Centre” Survey Estimates of Political Party Placements.” In Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara, Ian Budge, Michael D. McDonald, Hans-Dieter Klingemann (eds.) Mapping Policy Preferences from Texts III. New York: Oxford University Press.


Best, Robin E. and Michael D. McDonald. 2011. “The Role of Party Policy Positions in the Operation of Democracy.” In Christopher J. Anderson and Russell J. Dalton (eds.) Citizens, Context, and Choice: How Institutional Structures Shape Citizen Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.


PLSC 113     Introduction to Comparative Politics



PLSC 311     West European Politics


PLSC 485Q  Representation and Democracy


PLSC 485E   Elections & Geography

PLSC 500     Research Methods and Statistics I


PLSC 663V   Comparative Political Parties and Elections



Contact Me

Office:   LNG 79-A


Mail:      Department of Political Science

              Binghamton University (SUNY)

              P.O. Box 6000

              Binghamton NY 13902-6000


Email:   rbest@binghamton.edu


Phone:  (607) 777-2167

Fax:       (607) 777-2675