Which school would be good for someone interested in American politics and method?
Main interests: Elections, public opinion, elite communication/behavior
Sub interests: Interest groups, congress, party
For methods, WashU or OSU have more faculty and training than UIUC. They are also well known for training all their students well in methods.
WashU: Dan Butler would be a good fit for your interests and he is very productive. Betsy Sinclair too and she works a lot with graduate students. For Congress, there is Steven Smith. They have a lot of people to train you in methods.
OSU: Jan Box-Steffensmeier could be a good fit, though I'm not sure how much time she has because she is involved in a lot of stuff (in the sense that she has a ton of admin responsibilities). I've heard good things about her mentorship. William Minozzi might be someone else you could work with.
UIUC is a good program but lower ranked than the other 2. They have Jake Bowers for methods and Tracy Sulking for congress. I cannot think of someone with your main interests, maybe someone else can.
^ You should ask Box-Steffensmeier's students or talk to her directly about her projects, etc. You should not take my word for it.
I doubt Butler is going to leave. He got there just a couple of years ago, he has family in the area, and WashU probably doesn't want to loose him.
You should not be concerned, in general, about people leaving because good scholars always get offers. If you go to a place nobody is getting offers, it is probably because they are not good enough. And WashU has to money to match offers.
Go to WashU. Since Keele left OSU, their methods group is a bit weak compared to WashU. Braumoeller is good, but unconventional (and IR) and Box-Steffensmeier is great, but is really an event history person, and hasn't done a lot of methods stuff of which I'm aware since her coauthored CUP book (which to be blunt is mostly a translation of stats work for political scientists).
Butler is leaving WUSTL. Sinclair gave a job talk at Yale two years ago. Unclear how long she will be around for.
Well she didn't get the job so maybe it'll be fine?
If you are good enough to get a senior job talk at Yale, it's likely you can move whenever you feel like it.
The state of Illinois is flat broke, but UIUC is not. Their endowment is mostly separate from state funding, so they make minor (5%-7%) budget cuts but aren't in dire straits the way other Illinois state schools are.
UIUC is flat broke. Not clear how long the good people will stay there. OSU strong.