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Kassra Oskooii - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Kassra Oskooii

Associate Professor, American Politics, Political Psychology and Race and Ethnic Politics; Director of Internships | University of Delaware


Prof. Oskooii's research expertise include political psychology, public opinion, voting rights and redistricting.






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Kassra AR Oskooii, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 2016) joined the department in fall of 2016. His research and teaching focuses on the interplay between the contextual and psychological determinants of political opinions and behaviors of high and low status group members. Dr. Oskooii also has research and teaching expertise in the area of voting rights and redistricting. Due to this expertise, he has served as an expert witness or consultant in voting rights related matters in states such as Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington.

Dr. Oskooii's research has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, Public Opinion Quarterly, Sociological Methods and Research, Perspectives on Politics, Electoral Studies, Urban Affairs Review, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, State Politics and Policy Quarterly and the Journal of Public Policy.

Dr. Oskooii has also contributed to the development of the eiCompare Ecological Inference R Package, which has been used in numerous academic papers and voting rights cases across the country. More information about his research and teaching expertise can be found on his website​.

Industry Expertise (2)

Public Policy

Political Organization

Areas of Expertise (6)

Race and Ethnic Politics

Political Psychology

Public Opinion

Voting Rights



Media Appearances (7)

Enlighten Me: UD professor authors study on connection between social media news use and anti-Muslim views

Delaware Public Media  online


The number of hate crimes and attacks on minority groups is rising and social media is exacerbating the issue. That’s according to a recent study cited in the 2023 Economic Report of the President and co-authored by Kassra Oskooii, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware.

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UD professor's research cited in White House economic report | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


“You get an unexpected email from the White House and you’re going to be suspicious,” explained Oskooii with a chuckle. An associate professor of political science and international relations, he did some sleuthing and soon discovered that the email was legit.

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Caroline County NAACP et al v Federalsburg

ACLU of Maryland  online


Seven Black voters joined the Caroline County Branch of the NAACP and the Caucus of African American Leaders to file suit against Federalsburg in federal district court in Baltimore under the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. They are challenging the racially discriminatory and unlawful at-large, staggered-term election system that has kept Black people out of Federalsburg municipal government for 200 years.

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After redistricting battle, more Black candidates than ever are running for Baltimore County Council

Baltimore Sun  online


For example, in the 2016 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, “Black voters strongly preferred (Donna) Edwards while white voters strongly preferred (Chris) Van Hollen,” according to an analysis by political science professors Matt Barreto of UCLA and Kassra Oskooii of the University of Delaware.

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Analysis | Biden reverses Trump's 'Muslim ban.' Americans support the decision.

The Washington Post  online


On Inauguration Day, President Biden rescinded a policy widely known as the “Muslim ban” — a Trump administration-imposed ban on allowing people from seven Muslim-majority countries to travel to the United States. Biden has called the policy “morally wrong” and “designed to target primarily Black and Brown immigrants.” Polls show that U.S. public opinion is on his side. That’s a shift from polls conducted in January 2017, which suggested that roughly half of Americans initially supported the ban.

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Trump's 'Muslim ban' has backfired, study suggests

Middle East Eye  online


“Right after the executive order was announced there was a media backlash, protests sprung [up] in major cities and airports. Challenges to the ban were numerous,” said Kassra Oskooii, co-author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Delaware.

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Protests against Trump’s immigration executive order may have helped shift public opinion against it.

LSE Blog  online


Donald Trump’s executive order preventing the entry of refugees and those from seven Muslim-majority countries has sparked protests across the country and the world. But have those protests had an effect on public opinion? Loren Collingwood, Nazita Lajevardi, and Kassra Oskooii present preliminary findings from a survey conducted before and after President Trump’s executive order.

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Articles (5)

Undermining Sanctuary? When Local and National Partisan Cues Diverge

Urban Affairs Review

2023 To what extent do national partisan cues exert influence over local voting behavior? Despite being an “immigrant welcoming city,” in November, 2019, Tucson, Arizona, voters rejected Prop. 205—the Tucson Families Free and Together Initiative. We leverage theories of elite partisan cues to explain why voters in a progressive city voted against such an initiative. In contrast to Democratic support for sanctuary cities at the national level, we argue that mixed cues from local Democratic elites contributed significantly to a surprising rejection of the initiative. Using aggregate-level data and a framing experiment, we find that the local political environment split Democratic votes (50% favored, 50% opposed) while keeping Republican voters—who received consistent elite cues of opposition—uniformly against the proposition. This study illustrates how local partisan elite cues can shape ballot initiative voting outcomes, even to the point of overriding negative partisanship and national co-partisan consensus on the same issue.

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Fight not flight: The effects of explicit racism on minority political engagement

Electoral Studies

2022 Explicit racism in political campaigns is on the rise. Some research suggests policy threat and government discrimination are correlated with increased political participation, while others find evidence of alienation and withdrawal. However, little direct causal evidence exists on the effects of inflammatory campaign rhetoric on marginalized groups. Using a survey experiment of Latinx Americans, we investigate how exposure to racist political attacks shapes a targeted group’s political engagement. We find that randomized exposure to a stylized campaign video critical of immigrants or Latinx people increases vote intention and enthusiasm, but does not affect other political actions, such as donating and protesting. Increased participation effects are concentrated among respondents who report strong Latino identity and low political interest. These findings highlight the resilience of minority communities who respond to political attacks with political mobilization, not avoidance. Together, this causal evidence complements previous observational work and shows that mobilization can result not just from policy threat and state action, but also from campaign rhetoric.

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Hate, amplified? Social media news consumption and support for anti-Muslim policies

Journal of Public Policy

2022 Research finds that social media platforms’ peer-to-peer structures shape the public discourse and increase citizens’ likelihood of exposure to unregulated, false, and prejudicial content. Here, we test whether self-reported reliance on social media as a primary news source is linked to racialised policy support, taking the case of United States Muslims, a publicly visible but understudied group about whom significant false and prejudicial content is abundant on these platforms. Drawing on three original surveys and the Nationscape dataset, we find a strong and consistent association between reliance on social media and support for a range of anti-Muslim policies. Importantly, reliance on social media is linked to policy attitudes across the partisan divide and for individuals who reported holding positive or negative feelings towards Muslims. These findings highlight the need for further investigation into the political ramification of information presented on contemporary social media outlets, particularly information related to stigmatised groups.

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Estimating candidate support in Voting Rights Act cases: Comparing iterative EI and EI-R× C methods

Sociological Methods & Research

2022 Scholars and legal practitioners of voting rights are concerned with estimating individual-level voting behavior from aggregate-level data. The most commonly used technique, King’s ecological inference (EI), has been questioned for inflexibility in multiethnic settings or with multiple candidates. One method for estimating vote support for multiple candidates in the same election is called ecological inference: row by columns (R×C). While some simulations suggest that R×C may produce more precise estimates than the iterative EI technique, there has not been a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the two methods using real election data that analysts and legal practitioners often rely upon in courts.

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Perspectives on Politics

Perspectives on Politics

2021 How do involuntary interactions with authoritarian institutions shape political engagement? The policy feedback literature suggests that interactions with authoritarian policies undercut political participation. However, research in racial and ethnic politics offers reason to believe that these experiences may increase citizens’ engagement. Drawing on group attachment and discrimination research, we argue that mobilization is contingent on individuals’ political psychological state. Relative to their counterparts, individuals with a politicized group identity will display higher odds of political engagement when exposed to authoritarian institutions. To evaluate our theory, we draw on the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Study to examine the experiences of Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans. For all subgroups and different types of institutions, we find that, for those with a politicized group identity, institutional contact is associated with higher odds of participation. Our research modifies the classic policy feedback framework, which neglects group-based narratives in the calculus of collective action.

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Accomplishments (6)

Provost Teaching Fellow (professional)


Nominee of UD’s Excellence in Teaching Award (professional)


Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Best Paper Award, APSA (professional)


Student-Faculty Diversity Pipeline Award, AAPOR (professional)


Dean Recognition for Exceptional Pedagogical Contribution, UW (professional)


Best Graduate Paper in PoliSci, UW (professional)


Education (2)

University of Washington: PhD, Political Science and Government 2016

University of Washington: BA, Political Science and Government 2008

Event Appearances (5)

"Partisan Winners and Losers: Testing Alternative Frames of Congressional Election Results Among White and Latino Voters"

(2021) Annual American Political Science Association Conference (APSA)  

“KissingUpandKickingDown:How Immigrant Resentment Impacts Latinx Support for Donald Trump and Restrictive Immigration Policies"

(2021) Annual American Political Science Association Conference (APSA)  

"How do Political Attacks Affect Racial and Ethnic Self-Identities?”

(2021) Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference (APSA)  

“Kissing Up and Kicking Down: How Immigrant Resentment Impacts Latinx Support for Donald Trump and Restrictive Immigration Policies"

(2021) Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference (MPSA)  

"The Significance of Politicized Group Identities: Re-examining the Relationship between Contact with Punitive Political Institutions and Political Participation"

(2019) Annual American Political Science Association Conference (APSA)  Washington, DC