The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Ray La Raja, political science, is quoted in an opinion piece on factors likely to determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. “The economy is the source of the most uncertainty — it is doing well, although inflation is not fully tamed,” La Raja says. “Will things continue to improve, and will [President Joe] Biden start to get credit? This is especially important for white working-class voters in swing states like Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.” (The New York Times, 7/5/23)


Paul Collins, legal studies and political science, says a ruling against the state of Alabama in a case about the Voting Rights Act was the most surprising of the Court’s recently-ended term. “Historically, Chief Justice Roberts (who wrote the opinion) has not been a big fan of the Voting Rights Act, so it was somewhat surprising to see him write this opinion and to also determine that the Voting Rights Act had in fact been violated by the state of Alabama,” Collins says. (Yahoo! News, 6/30/23)


Political science Ph.D. student Justin Burnworth, who is also an attorney, discusses whether the state of New York’s Son of Sam law applies to the Anna Delvey podcast. The law is intended to prevent criminals from profiting off their crimes. Delvey, an alias used by Anna Sorokin, was convicted of eight charges in a high-profile case in which she posed as a wealthy Manhattan heiress. Sorokin currently hosts a podcast and was also the subject of a Netflix series. (Town & Country, 6/30/23)

UMass Amherst Poll Director Tatishe Nteta, political science, comments on a reparations proposal in California, which is now in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers. “If it fails in California, that is a harbinger for the movement and that it is actually not going to gain steam in a lot of other states,” Nteta says. “But if it succeeds, then it has this symbolic and substantive impact that is going to be really important for this movement going forward.” A UMass Amherst Poll in January found 36% of respondents said they supported cash payments for the descendants of slaves, while 63% were opposed. (Los Angeles Times, 6/29/23; News Office release)


The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision on June 29, effectively ended the use of race in college admissions, and a recent national University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll conducted earlier this month found that Americans are of two minds when it comes to the policy of affirmative action. A plurality of Americans – 42% – agree that the policy should be discontinued and race and ethnicity should no longer factor into such decisions, while 33% support the continued use of such criteria in admissions decisions. (The Hill, 6/28/23; WCVB, WMUR [N.H.], 6/29/23; News Office release)

An opinion piece on President Joe Biden’s reelection chances quotes Ray La Raja, political science, who said Biden shouldn’t count on fixing minor problems like eliminating hotel resort fees or large service fees when buying concert tickets to win the election, but it could help “at the margins.” (Raw Story, 6/26/23)


There is additional coverage of a national UMass Amherst Poll on topics including affirmative action, Supreme Court reforms and the performance of Congress and President Joe Biden. The poll finds that a plurality of Americans – 42% – agree that the policy of considering race and ethnicity in college admissions should be discontinued, while 33% support the continued use of such criteria. (MassLive, 6/21/23; News Office release)

A UMass Amherst Poll from October 2022, which asked respondents their views on possible impeachment of President Joe Biden, is cited in a pair of articles following Rep. Lauren Boebert’s attempt this week to force a House impeachment vote. (The New York Times, Business Insider, 6/22/23; News Office release)


A new national UMass Amherst Poll surveyed views on some of the culture issues dividing the country, including diversity, trans rights, antisemitism, immigration and the definition of the political buzzword “woke.” Among other things, the poll found that about 60% supported the statement that “being a man or a woman is something that is permanent and cannot be changed.” Genny Beemyn, director the Stonewall Center, said, “ They don’t know us, so I’m not surprised that a majority of people feel that way.” (MassLive, MassLive, 6/20/23; News Office release)

Paul Collins, legal studies and political science, comments on Hunter Biden’s plea deal. “The plea deal looks fairly standard in that it involves an individual with substance abuse problems that will be required to abide by a variety of conditions as part of the plea deal, such as drug testing,” Collins says. (The Christian Science Monitor, 6/20/23)