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Zoltan Hajnal

Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego

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About Zoltan

Hajnal is a scholar of racial and ethnic politics, urban politics, immigration, and political behavior. Hajnal is the author of a range of books and articles on partisan politics, voter turnout, minority representation, and local spending. Hajnal has published in the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and numerous other journals, edited volumes, and newspaper editorial pages. He has received numerous honors for his research and writing including the Best Book on Race Ethnicity, the Best Book on Urban Politics, and the Best Paper on Urban Politics (all from the American Political Science Association). He has received a number of fellowships including a Center for Comparative Immigration Studies Fellowship, a Center for the Study of Democratic Politics Fellowship, and a Chris and Warren Hellman Fellowship. His research has been funded by the Russell Sage Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. Prior to taking his position at UCSD, he served as a Research Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and as a legislative assistant in Canadian Parliament.

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In the News

"Why Almost No-One Votes in Local Elections and What We Can Do About It," Zoltan Hajnal, Guest | Opinion , Daily Camera, October 27, 2022.
"Why Does No One Vote in Local Elections?," Zoltan Hajnal, The New York Times, October 22, 2018.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on immigration as a driving force for white voters switching from the Democratic to the Republican party by Shankar Vedantam, "Voting with a Middle Finger: Two Views on the White Working Class" NPR's Hidden Brain, October 15, 2018.
Zoltan Hajnal's research on voter suppression discussed by Andrew Gelman, "A New Controversy Erupts Over Whether Voter Identification Laws Suppress Minority Turnout," The Washington Post, June 11, 2018.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted by Peter Beinart, "It's Not Illegal Immigration that Worries Republicans Anymore" The Atlantic, February 18, 2018.
"Do Voter Identification Laws Suppress Minority Voting? Yes. We Did the Research.," Zoltan Hajnal (with Nazita Lajevardi and Lindsay Nielson), The Washington Post, February 15, 2017.
"Why Voting with Your Wallet Means Voting Democratic," Zoltan Hajnal (with Barbara F. Walter), CNN, October 9, 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted by Editorial Board, "The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth" New York Times, September 19, 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on white nativism by Peter Beinart, "The Republican Party's White Strategy " the Atlantic, July/August 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on Trump’s message to white Americans by Dara Lind Vox, July 22, 2016.
Guest to discuss race, turnout, and bias in politics on St. Louis Public Radio, Zoltan Hajnal, April 6, 2016.
Guest to discuss restrictive voter laws on KUT, Zoltan Hajnal, February 9, 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal's research on minority voter suppression discussed by Christopher Ingraham, "New Evidence That Voter ID Laws ‘Skew Democracy’ in Favor of White Republicans," The Washington Post, February 4, 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on voter ID laws by Scott Keyes, "Study Finds Republican Voter Suppression is Even More Effective than You Think" Think Progress, February 2, 2016.
Zoltan Hajnal's research on the impact that the growing Latino population has on white political attitudes discussed by Stephen A. Nuño, "Is There 'White Backlash' to Latino Immigration? Author Says Yes," NBC News, October 20, 2015.
Guest to discuss voting rights on PBS Newshour, Zoltan Hajnal, August 6, 2015.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on boosting voter turnout by Sean McElwee, "Ferguson's Municipal Elections Show That Voter Turnout Matters" Demos, April 9, 2015.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on Republican policies disproportionately impacting minorities by Sean McElwee, "The Economy is a Democrat: Why Recent History Shows the Value of a Progressive President" Salon, March 28, 2015.
"Where Does America’s Low Voter Turnout Matter the Most? In Local Elections," Zoltan Hajnal, The Washington Post, March 24, 2015.
Zoltan Hajnal quoted on African American representation in office by Niraj Chokshi , "Where Black Voters Stand 50 Years after the Voting Rights Act Was Passed" The Washington Post, March 3, 2015.
"Averting the Next Ferguson: A Simple Fix for Local Representation," Zoltan Hajnal, Politics of Color, December 16, 2014.
"The Democrats’ Immigration Problem," Zoltan Hajnal, New York Times, November 20, 2014.
"Ferguson: No Peace without Representation," Zoltan Hajnal, Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2014.
"Why the Poor Favor the Democrats," Zoltan Hajnal (with Jeremy D. Horowitz), Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2012.
"The Untold Future of American Politics," Zoltan Hajnal (with Taeku Lee), New York Times, June 4, 2012.
Guest to discuss minority voter turnout on UCTV Prime: Vote, Zoltan Hajnal, May 21, 2012.
"The GOP’s Racial Challenge," Zoltan Hajnal, The Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2010.
"Obama’s Extra Hurdle?," Zoltan Hajnal, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2007.


"Democratic Party Control Reduces Gender Inequality" (with Zoltan Hajnal). Legislative Studies Quarterly (2020).

Finds Democratic party control of the state house reduces gender inequality.

"A Disproportionate Burden: Strict Voter Identification Laws and Minority Turnout" (with John Kuk and Nazita Lajevardi). A Disproportionate Burden: Strict Voter Identification Laws and Minority Turnout (2020).

Discusses how counties with higher non-White voters in a state that enacted strict voter ID laws show decreased turnout compared to counterparts in states that did not enact strict voter ID laws.

"Political Inequality in America: Who Loses on Spending Policy? When is Policy Less Biased?" (with John Griffin, Brian Newman, and David Searle). Politics, Groups, and Identities (forthcoming).

Matches individual spending preferences in 11 policy areas with actual federal spending to see whose preferences are realized. Finds that race, more regularly than class, shapes government responsiveness. Finds that Democratic Party control eliminates most of the racial bias in responsiveness.

"White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics" (with Marisa Abrajano) (Princeton University Press, 2017).

Provides an authoritative assessment of how immigration is reshaping the politics of the nation. Shows that fears about immigration fundamentally influence white Americans' core political identities, policy preferences, and electoral choices, and that these concerns are at the heart of a large-scale defection of whites from the Democratic to Republican party. Raises critical questions and concerns about how political beliefs and future elections will change the fate of America's immigrants and minorities, and their relationship with the rest of the nation.

"We All Agree: Strict Voter ID Laws Disproportionately Burden Minorities" (with John Kuk and Nazita Lajevardi). The Journal of Politics 80, no. 3 (2018).

Finds that strict voter ID laws discriminate. Responds to a piece by Grimmer et al.

"Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes," (with Nazita Lajevardi and Lindsay Nielson), University of California, San Diego, forthcoming.

Argues that voter identification laws decrease minority turnout in American elections. Discusses how voter turnout among whites does not change, but turnout among Hispanics, Blacks, Asian Americans, and liberals falls by several percentage points when states require citizens to show identification in order to vote.

"Why Americans Don’t Join the Party: Race, Immigration, and the Failure of Political Parties to Engage the Electorate" (with Taeku Lee) (Princeton University Press, 2011).
Offers the first encompassing account of how race and immigrant status affect the relationship that ordinary individuals have, or fail to have, with the American party system. Our analysis not only explains the high levels of ambivalence and uncertainty that shape the partisan views of so many individual Americans but also offers incentives and strategies for political parties and other interested observers to incorporate this population.
"America’s Uneven Democracy: Turnout, Race, and Representation in City Politics" (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Demonstrates that low and uneven voter turnout leads to disadvantages for racial and ethnic minorities and proposes a practical and cost-effective solution to the problem.
"Who Loses in American Democracy: A Count of Votes Demonstrates the Limited Representation of African Americans" American Political Science Review 103, no. 3 (2009).
Uses a new measure of minority representation and finds that across the range of American elections, African Americans are consistently more likely than other groups to end up losers raising questions about equity in American democracy.
"Changing White Attitudes toward Black Political Leadership" (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Examines how experiences of constituency under black mayors affect individual white racial attitudes and the willingness of white voters to support black candidates; shows that black representation can profoundly alter white views and white votes by disproving the racial fears of many in the white community.