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Department of
Political Science

Department of
Chicana/o Studies


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Research Projects

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Bunche Hall 3345

Matt A. Barreto ::

Current Research Projects

  • Collaborative Multi-Racial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) [ Project Website ]
    The Collaborative Multi-racial Post-Election Survey is a national survey of voters and non-voters on political and social issues conducted post-election. Beginning in 2016, the CMPS is conducted via the Internet, and is one of the few surveys that includes enough respondents to do across racial group analysis. In 2016, the co-principal investigators were Matt Barreto, Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Edward Vargas, and Janelle Wong. The CMPS is currently housed at UCLA. This project is a collaborative effort of more than 80 scholars who study race, ethnicity, immigration and politics.

  • The 2020 Census and the Citizenship question [ Project Website ]
    [With Marcel Roman] For the 2020 Census the Department of Commerce decided to add a question asking all households to indicate whether every household member is currently a U.S. citizen or not. Currently that question is asked on the Census ACS which is a sample of about 1.7% to 2.1% of all households. In 2020 the DOC plans to add this as a required question to the 100% household short form. In response, the states of California, New York, and 16 other states, along with 14 localities sued the Department of Commerce arguing that the inclusion of a citizenship question would harm the quality of the data and lead to a net under-count. As part of these lawsuits, we conducted a comprehensive literature review on sensitive questions, political context, and response rates to understand how this new question might impact response rates in 2020. In addition, we implemented a large national survey to ask residents of all 50 states how they plan to respond or participate in light of a new citizenship question.

  • Voter identification laws and access to valid ID
    [With Gabe Sanchez] Over the past 15 years more than two dozen states have passed laws requiring voters to show some sort of photo identification in order to vote as the polls. An early effort in Georgia was struck down, calling the fee involved to obtain a photo ID a poll tax, however the Georgia law was revised and eventually allowed by the courts. This research project asks a simple question of what, if any, gaps exist in access and possession of valid photo ID for purposes of voting. Do all Americans have access, or the ability to obtain a photo ID? Do all Americans have access to the underlying documents needed to obtain the ID? We explore the implications for access to the ballot across race, age, gender and income segments in the presence of different ID requirements.

  • The Voting Rights Act and Minority Voters [ Project Website ]
    In Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 US 30 (1986) the Supreme Court interpreted Section 2 of the recently amended Voting Rights Act (1965), making analysis of racially polarized voting necessary to examine two of three elements related to minority vote dilution. In addition to geographic compactness, the court established minority political cohesiveness and white bloc voting as pre-conditions that can be determined through racial bloc voting analysis. In Gingles, the now familiar definition of racially polarized voting was framed as occurring when there is a “consistent relationship between race of a voter and the way in which the voter votes.” Put simply, racially polarized voting occurs when minority and non-minority voters, considered separately, would have elected different candidates to office. Related and implicit to this inquiry, is whether or not the minority group in question constitutes a “politically cohesive unit.” If minorities did not behave as a cohesive unit at the polls, evidence of racially polarized voting on the part of non-minorities would be difficult to find.

  • Demographics and political threat: mobilization and coalitions in 2016
    [With Christopher Parker] Building on a previous survey project understanding attitudes and correlates of Tea Party supporters and opponents, this project examines public opinion during the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, how does one account for Trump's unexpected victory and what are the implications, if any, for American democracy? Drawing on our prior work on the Tea Party movement, we put Trump’s victory in historical context and, in doing so, show why his triumph should’ve surprised no one. Linking Trump’s triumph to reactionary movements of the past, we argue that the outcome of the latest presidential contest is simply an extension of a long process of reactionary movements. In the process, we demonstrate that economic anxiety and attitudes about global trade deals, the conventional account for his win, had virtually nothing to do with motivating his core voters. Instead, we demonstrate that Trump’s rise, like the formation of other reactionary movements, was fueled by a sense of existential threat: the belief that “real American” culture is under siege. Unlike other accounts of Trump, we also illustrate the political implications of the sense of existential threat Trump symbolizes. We also explore another application of threat: the threat the election of the 45th president poses to the progress of people of color (POC). We demonstrate that POC who felt threated by Trump’s candidacy were far more politically engaged, mobilized, and felt more solidarity with other POC, rather than those who felt less threatened. The book also shows that POC who perceived a sense of existential threat were also willing to forge an interracial coalition to resist Trump’s presidency.

  • The Muslim American Public Opinion Survey (MAPOS) [ Project Website ]
    [With Karam Dana] Most political science research on racial and ethnic minorities in the United tends to focus on African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos. Further, most studies of Muslims typically look at democratization and political participation in the Middle East. Relatively few efforts have been made to understand the patterns of social, civic, and political participation among Arab/Muslim Americans in the United States, despite great increases in their population, citizenship, and voter registration over recent elections. This study will focus on two important concepts in racial/ethnic politics among Arab/Muslim Americans: the notion of linked fate or shared group consciousness, and the resulting impact on political participation. During Eid al Adha and following through February, we will implement a public opinion survey of Arab/Muslim Americans in the greater Seattle area, in an effort to better understand the political impolications of religious and ethnic shared community in the U.S. and also provide comparative data for Arab/Muslim Americans on many traditional measures of political behavior and participation.

    Contact: barretom(at)