hero image
Alexander Theodoridis - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Alexander Theodoridis

Associate Professor of Political Science / Co-director of UMass Poll | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Alex Theodoridis looks at the ways in which citizens interact with the political world in an era of hyper-polarization.

Expertise (4)

Public Opinion and American Politics

Political Behavior


Public Opinion and Public Policy


Alex Theodoridis looks at the ways in which citizens interact with the political world in an era of hyper-polarization.

Much of his work applies new survey experimental and measurement paradigms to examine the implications of partisan identity and party cues for political cognition. He also studies public opinion as it relates to a variety of policy domains, especially environmental policy.

His work and writing is regularly featured by media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Scientific American, Time, CNN and The Economist .

Social Media






The Lincoln Project Podcast | Guest: Alexander Theodoridis


Education (3)

University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Political Science

Harvard Kennedy School: M.P.P.

University of Virginia: B.A., Politics and English

Select Media Coverage (6)

Trump-Biden again? 10 American experts on the presidential campaign

Le Grand Continent  online


Alexander Theodoridis, professor of political science and co-director of the UMass Poll, is one of 10 political experts weighing in on the expected Joe Biden-Donald Trump presidential rematch. “Given the slow pace of the U.S. justice system and the likelihood of protracted appeals, I do not expect the multiple lawsuits filed against Trump to pose a practical obstacle to his presidential campaign,” Theodoridis says. “I also don't think the long list of accusations against the former president significantly weakens the support he enjoys among most Republican voters.”

view more

‘This Is Grim,’ One Democratic Pollster Says

The New York Times  


Commenting on recent polling showing President Joe Biden with less support going into the 2024 election than he had in 2020, Alexander Theodoridis says, “Once Democrats come to terms with the fact that Biden will be the nominee (and, more importantly, that Trump will in all likelihood be the GOP nominee), a lot of the internal malaise expressed in current polls should dissipate.”

view more

The Unsettling Truth About Trump’s First Great Victory

The New York Times  


Alexander Theodoridis is quoted in an opinion column about Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.Theodoridis says, “Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016 was a stress test for Republican partisanship, and Republican partisanship passed with flying colors.”

view more

Most Republicans think the 2020 election was stolen. Why?

Tampa Bay Times  online


Political scientist Alexander Theodoridis, associate director of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst poll, said partisan polarization makes agreement on the election results even harder to achieve. “Partisans view the other side as morally bankrupt and capable of anything,” Theodoridis said. “This makes it nearly impossible to correct even the most egregious pieces of misinformation.”

view more

UMass Amherst poll finds 71% of Republicans don't believe Biden was legitimately elected

WCVB  online


"What you see in these results is an America that really, based on partisan lines, is living in two diametrically opposed realities. You have Democrats on the one hand who, for the most part, tell us that Donald Trump was to blame," said Professor Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Director of the UMass Poll. "Then, on the other side, you have really blame spread across the Democratic party — Antifa, interestingly enough, and the Capitol Police, also — which is basically anyone but Donald Trump."

view more

The Consequences Of Dehumanizing Language In Politics

NPR  radio


United States politicians are no strangers to using unkind language against their opponents. It's a trend that dates back to at least 1800 when, during the presidential campaign, Thomas Jefferson hired James Callender to slime John Adams. But Alexander Theodoridis, who teaches political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says that today's partisanship can lend itself to particularly dehumanizing language not only between political opponents, but also between regular Americans who belong to opposite political parties.

view more

Select Publications (7)

Rooted in Racism? Race, Partisanship, Status Threat, and Public Opinion Toward Statehood for Washington, DC

Political Research Quarterly

2023 In recent years, a number of prominent elected officials on both sides of the partisan divide have weighed in on the possibility of making Washington, D.C., the nation’s fifty-first state. While Democratic supporters of statehood for D.C. emphasize issues of equal representation, some Republican opponents have stressed the partisan and ideological consequences of D.C. statehood. Other Republican opponents, in justifying their position, have made the claim that Washington, D.C., lacks the necessary and sufficient characteristics associated with statehood, and these claims have been widely interpreted as implicitly racist appeals.

view more

Americans just elected two lesbian governors. Have attitudes changed that much?

The Washington Post

Tatishe Nteta, Adam Eichen, Maddi Hertz, Ray La Raja, Jesse Rhodes and Alexander Theodoridis


"Our research found sexism hurts candidates more than antigay attitudes, at least in Massachusetts"

view more

Do Republicans really believe Trump won the 2020 election? Our research suggests that they do.

The Washington Post

Lane Cuthbert and Alexander Theodoridis


"All credible evidence tells us that the 2020 election was very secure. Experts on both sides of the political aisle, and even President Donald Trump’s own Justice Department, have confirmed that 2020 was a free and fair election. Even a Republican-sponsored audit of Arizona’s results found no evidence of fraud or malfeasance."

view more

Separated by politics? Disentangling the dimensions of discrimination

Political Behavior

2022 How rampant is political discrimination in the United States, and how does it compare to other sources of bias in apolitical interactions? We employ a conjoint experiment to juxtapose the discriminatory effects of salient social categories across a range of contexts. The conjoint framework enables identification of social groups’ distinct causal effects, ceteris paribus, and minimizes ‘cheap talk,’ social desirability bias, and spurious conclusions from statistical discrimination. We find pronounced discrimination along the lines of party and ideology, as well as politicized identities such as religion and sexual orientation.

view more

Primary divisions: How voters evaluate policy and group differences in intraparty contests

The Journal of Politics

2022 While central to theories of polarization and primary elections, surprisingly little evidence shows that partisans favor candidates who take ideologically consistent issue positions, above other considerations, in intraparty contests. In this study, we investigate how voters weigh policy and nonpolicy differences when evaluating same-party politicians, using novel conjoint experiments that manipulate the demographic, biographical, and issue information of congressional candidates. We recruit 4,093 participants in the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, assigning half to either rate same-party candidates on an ideological scale or choose between them in primary-like settings.

view more

Negative partisanship is not more prevalent than positive partisanship

Nature human behaviour

2022 The dominant narrative among scholars and political pundits characterizes American partisanship as overwhelmingly negative, portraying citizens as more repelled by the opposing party than attached to their own party. To assess the valence of partisan identity, we use various measures collected from several new and existing nationally representative surveys and behavioural outcomes obtained from two experiments. Our findings consistently depart from the negative partisanship narrative. For the majority of Americans, partisanship is either equally positive and negative or more positive than negative.

view more

Party animals? Extreme partisan polarization and dehumanization

Political Behavior

2021 The affective, identity based, and often negative nature of partisan polarization in the United States has been a subject of much scholarly attention. Applying insights from recent work in social psychology, we employ three novel large-N, broadly representative online surveys, fielded over the course of 4 years, across two presidential administrations, to examine the extent to which this brand of polarization features a willingness to apply dehumanizing metaphors to out-partisans. We begin by looking at two different measures of dehumanization (one subtle and one more direct).

view more