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Jesse Rhodes - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Jesse Rhodes

Professor of Political Science and Co-director of the UMass Poll | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Jesse Rhodes is a leading expert in social policy, voting rights, inequality, and political behavior.

Expertise (5)


Political Polling

Voting Rights

American Politics

Civil Rights


Jesse Rhodes is a leading expert in social policy, voting rights, inequality and political behavior. His research revolves around struggles over race, representation, and civil and voting rights, and their consequences for politics and policymaking in the United States.

He is co-director of the UMass Poll which combines cutting edge online polling with academic and professional expertise in the science of politics.

He has written extensively on inequality in representation, voting rights politics, education politics, economic, racial, and political inequality, presidential rhetoric, and party politics.

His new research, funded by the NSF, examines issue attention and legal consciousness in the LGBTQ+ community using a large corpus of articles from LGBTQ+ media.

Additional research examines the influence of racial attitudes on beliefs about the January 6 insurrection and perceptions of voting policies among whites; the impact of implicit racism on the behavior of state judges; and the influence of partisan bias on the behavior of jurors.






Politics During the Pandemic: Insights from UMass Poll | Webinar


Education (2)

University of Virginia: Ph.D., Politics

Juniata College: B.A., Politics

Select Media Coverage (8)

3 novel legal arguments by Republicans that threaten the Voting Rights Act in 2024



Jesse Rhodes comments in an article about legal challenges to the Voting Rights Act by Republican officials, mainly in the South. “Conservative legal activist groups are trying out a variety of pretty radical claims that would have been beyond the pale 10, 15, 20 years ago. But now that there’s this very conservative majority, they think, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot.’ And they’re hoping that some of these sets of claims will stick,” Rhodes says.

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California voters reject reparations in new poll but advocate sees silver lining: 'Policies are a solution'

Fox News  online


Jesse Rhodes, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) who also helps conduct national surveys of public opinion, told FOX News Digital that he wasn’t surprised by the results of the poll.

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UMass Poll: 60% of adults believe gender cannot be changed

MassLive  online


Jesse Rhodes, a UMass professor of political science and the co-director of the poll, said in a statement that the belief of the American majority that gender cannot be changed based on how a person identifies is “in contrast with available medical and social scientific evidence.”

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UMass Amherst Poll: What is ‘Woke?’

WWLP  online


“Although most Americans seem fine about increasing the representation of diversity in television and film, there is a hard core of Americans – between 20-30% – who oppose this,” says Jesse Rhodes, professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll. “This likely reflects these Americans’ general anxiety about increasing racial and ethnic diversity in American society, and the growing influence of people of color in our politics.”

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UMass Amherst poll: 42% of Americans support Juneteenth as a holiday

NHPR  online


Jesse Rhodes, a co-director of the poll and political science professor at UMass Amherst, noted that there is significant conflict among Americans on how history should be taught in schools. One contributing factor is the differing political stances, an element that manifests “a continuation and an intensification” of disagreement regarding racial history teaching, Rhodes said.

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Polling shows why most Americans don't support reparations

Fox News  tv


In a video segment, University of Massachusetts Amherst professor, Jesse Rhodes, discusses his extensive polling on reparations.

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

WCVB-TV  online


"Republicans and conservatives are shifting blame away from (former president Donald) Trump, despite all the evidence, because it helps them maintain and protect deeply held identities and beliefs," said UMass political science professor Jesse Rhodes.

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'Troubled, but not surprised,' professor says about Capitol riot poll



A new UMass poll shares the sentiment about how Americans feel about the insurrection one year after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Joining us to discuss those results is political science professor Jesse Rhodes

jesse rhodes

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Select Publications (7)

Politicians Should Know When to Retire | Opinion


Tatishe Nteta, Jesse Rhodes, and Adam Eichen


"We should honor the contributions of older Americans serving in national elective office. And while we probably don't need to amend the Constitution to establish a maximum age of service, the fact that so many Americans support such an idea suggests that we need to have a national conversation about how to bring more youthfulness into our national politics. Doing so will help ensure that Americans of all ages enjoy fair representation in the halls of power."

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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.

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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


"The finding that antigay attitudes were not influencing Massachusetts voters surprised us. We wondered whether they resulted from our using what’s called a “feeling thermometer” to measure antigay attitudes; we speculated that it might be overly blunt and subject to social desirability bias, or the desire to give the socially approved answer. To further investigate, in the same survey, we used a technique known as a list experiment."

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Same as it ever was? The impact of racial resentment on White juror decision-making

The Journal of Politics

2022 While a rich literature has developed around race and juror decision-making, little is known about the underlying reasoning and psychology informing these decisions. In this article, we argue juror decision-making and reasoning in cases featuring an African American defendant are moderated by a juror’s level of racial resentment. We present a survey experiment that subtly manipulates the race of the defendant and ask respondents to assess the guilt of the defendant and explain the reasoning for their decision. We find that racially resentful jurors exposed to a vignette featuring an African American defendant are more likely to see the defendant as guilty and to employ distinctive explanations for assessing their guilt.

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The Conservative Bias in America’s Local Governments

Political Science Quarterly

2022 CANONICAL THEORIES OF REPRESENTATION in American politics argue that politicians seek to represent the median voter, and empirical findings generally demonstrate the responsiveness of elected officials to public opinion. 1 However, recent research on inequality in representation provides convincing indications of a pervasive conservative bias among elected officials, particularly on economic issues. Strong evidence now suggests that more affluent individuals and whites—two groups that tend to have more conservative preferences on matters relating to taxation, redistribution, and regulation of businesses—receive more representation than do less affluent.

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Just locker room talk? Explicit sexism and the impact of the Access Hollywood tape on electoral support for Donald Trump in 2016

Political Communication

2020 Scholars have long debated whether and to what extent citizens punish political candidates for explicitly racist rhetoric. However, few studies explore whether a similar dynamic occurs when explicitly sexist messages are conveyed on the campaign trail. Do citizens recoil when exposed to explicitly sexist messages? To investigate this question, we exploit the unique opportunity afforded by the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Using data provided by the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study and employing a variety of analytic approaches, we find consistent evidence that the release of the tape modestly, though significantly, reduced support for Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

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Helping to break the glass ceiling? Fathers, first daughters, and presidential vote choice in 2016

Political Behavior

2020 Throughout her 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton crafted messages intended to appeal to fathers of daughters and to highlight the implications of her historic nomination for American girls and women. Clinton reminded voters that her election could mean that “fathers will be able to say to their daughters, you, too, can grow up to be president”. But did these appeals succeed in mobilizing fathers of daughters to support Clinton? Using original cross sectional and experimental survey data from the 2016 CCES, we ask two questions. First, were men who fathered daughters (a life event which we operationalize, for important methodological and theoretical reasons detailed herein, as men who fathered a daughter as their first child) more likely to support, and vote for, Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election than were those who fathered sons as their first child?

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