Public Policy and Organizations
Elections and Polling
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 associate director of the UMass Poll, which conducts public opinion research in Massachusetts and the United States to inform policymaking.
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
Media Coverage (5)
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.”
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.
One place Trump gained in Mass.: heavily Latino cities
CommonWealth magazine print
UMass Amherst Professor Ray La Raja says Latinos often bring a perspective that can’t be pigeonholed into a clear ideological camp. “Latinos still support the Democratic ticket,” he said. But he said that doesn’t translate to uniform support for every position being advanced in the party. “When you have elements of the Democratic Party calling for defunding the police, that is the last thing people in some of these communities want to hear,” said La Raja.
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'."
The Changing Shape of the Parties Is Changing Where They Get Their Money
The New York Times print
A column about the changing ways that political parties raise money, quotes Ray J. La Raja who says it’s not too surprising that President Donald Trump has raised more money from small donors because Trump ignites the passions in individual donors.
MAGA was the real winner of the Ohio Republican primaryThe 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.
How ranked-choice voting saved the Virginia GOP from itselfThe 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.
Too Much Democracy Is Bad for DemocracyThe 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.
Democratic Party’s pluralism is both a strength and weaknessSalon
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.
Detecting and Understanding Donor Strategies in Midterm ElectionsPolitical Research Quarterly
Jesse H. Rhodes, Brian F. Schaffner, Raymond J. La Raja
What explains how political donors decide where to give? Existing research indicates that people donate money to express support for a preferred political “team” and enjoy the emotional benefits of participating in politics. While this explains why people donate, it does little to help understand the different strategies that donors may pursue.
Re-engineering politicians: How activist groups choose our candidates—long before we voteBrookings
Jonathan Rauch and Raymond J. La Raja
Political analysts sometimes refer to the process by which candidacies emerge and test their viability as the "invisible primary": activities like candidate recruitment, training, networking, grassroots cultivation, and more.