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Ray La Raja - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Ray La Raja

Professor of Political Science / Associate Director of UMass Poll | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Ray La Raja's research interests include political parties, interest groups, elections, campaign finance and political participation.

Expertise (5)

Public Policy and Organizations

Elections and Polling

Political Science

Campaign Finance

American Politics


Ray La Raja's areas of expertise include political parties, interest groups, campaign finance, elections, political participation, American state and local politics, public policy and political reform. He is co-founder and associate director of the UMass Poll, which conducts public opinion research in Massachusetts and the United States to inform policymaking.

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Social Science Matters: Ray la Raja, Associate Professor of Political Science Ray La Raja - About LSEF - UMass Scholarship for Indian students Political Impact of COVID-19 with Prof. Ray La Raja | Connecting Point | March 27, 2020


Education (3)

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

Harvard University: Master in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government

Harvard University: A.B., History and Literature

Select Media Coverage (8)

Will State GOPs Run Out of Money?

Governing  online


Raymond La Raja, co-director of the UMass Amherst Poll, is quoted in an article examining whether state Republican parties could run out of money. “These state parties are not getting contributions because the traditional big donors do not trust them with their money,” La Raja says. “What you are seeing in some parties is a rejection of the MAGA brand by donors.”

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Ron DeSantis' Poop Map During Gavin Newsom Debate Brutally Mocked

Newsweek  online


Ray La Raja, professor of political science and co-director of the UMass Poll, says California Governor Gavin Newsom could have an image problem if he runs for president. “Newsom embodies California in both his style and politics. How will that play with Midwestern voters who are suspicious of San Francisco politicians who hang out in wine country?” La Raja said.

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For Some Key Voters, Trump Has Become Toxic

The New York Times  print


Asked what factors he would cite as crucial to determining the outcome of the 2024 presidential election, Ray La Raja said, "The economy is the source of the most uncertainty — it is doing well, although inflation is not fully tamed. Will things continue to improve, and will Biden start to get credit? This is especially important for white working-class voters in swing states."

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Matt Gaetz brought in record political donations as he opposed Kevin McCarthy for speaker

USA Today  online


"The people who raise the most money, they’re not legislatively successful," said Ray La Raja, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts. "They’re not the workhorses in Congress. So yeah, he can tap into people’s anger. … What he’s doing when he’s not raising money, I don’t know."

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More than half of Mass. Republicans considered leaving the state in the past year, poll finds

The Boston Globe  print


“Massachusetts residents continue to contemplate moving from the state, with the top concern the high cost of living. Overall, 39 percent say they have considered moving in the past year, a small upward tick from six months ago when 35 percent said this," said Raymond La Raja, a UMass Amherst political science professor and co-director of the poll,.

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Trump committee raised millions to fight election fraud before Jan. 6. Here's how that money was spent.

USA Today  online


Raymond La Raja is quoted in a news article examining the expenditures on which former President Donald Trump and his allies spent a quarter of a billion dollars in donations received based on their claims of fighting “widespread election fraud.”

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With Baker and Polito out, what happens to the campaign cash they raised?

WBUR radio  radio


Ray La Raja says the Baker-Polito campaign has few options about what to do with the $3 million in donations it has amassed, now that they’ve announced they are not running for reelection.

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What if Beating Trump Is the Easy Part?

The New Yotk Times  print


"Ray La Raja, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, voiced the consensus view of the strategists and scholars I contacted: 'A Senate win is critical. Otherwise, we are back to a standoff between a Democratic President and Mitch McConnell'."

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Select Publications (5)

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 2022 midterm elections delivered the most diverse slate of elected officials in the history of the nation, including breakthroughs by women and what’s being called a “rainbow wave” — a winning slate of lesbian, gay and bisexual candidates across the country"

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MAGA was the real winner of the Ohio Republican primary

The Washington Post

Mia Costa, Zachary Albert and Raymond J. La Raja


Raymond La Raja is co-author of an article analyzing last week’s Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, which was won by Trump-endorsed candidate J.D. Vance who earned less than a third of the votes in a crowded field.

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How ranked-choice voting saved the Virginia GOP from itself

The Washington Post

Raymond J. La Raja and Alexander Theodoridis


Raymond La Raja and colleague Alex Theodoridis write that the implementation of ranked-choice voting by delegates to the Virginia Republican Party statewide delegation reduced the chances that a Trumpist candidate would run away with the party’s nomination for governor.

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Too Much Democracy Is Bad for Democracy

The Atlantic

Jonathan Rauch and Ray La Raja


The major American parties have ceded unprecedented power to primary voters. It’s a radical experiment—and it’s failing.

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Democratic Party’s pluralism is both a strength and weakness


Raymond J. La Raja


"Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.” Much has changed since humorist Will Rogers said that in the 1930s, but he got it mostly right.

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