During elections, their numbers are on speed dial.

When it comes to making sense out of the chaos of U.S. presidential elections, the national and international news media know whom to call. It just so happens they’re all on the faculty at Iowa State University.

Dianne Bystrom has been a contributor to 15 books on politics; James McCormick recently wrote a chapter in a book on President Obama; Dave Peterson writes and studies voter behavior; Steffen Schmidt is nationally known as “Dr. Politics” on public radio and in his blogs; and Mack Shelley is an expert in polling and caucuses.

That’s the thing about Iowa State. Our students are inspired by professors who are leading experts in their fields. That includes Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winners and faculty who have been honored by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

With the presidential election season here, citizens across the nation will be hearing quite a few predictions from these five leading authorities over the next year. And just for the record: no, they don’t use crystal balls. Only data.