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Politics and Public Opinion on Crime and Justice

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Project Summary:

In these projects, Professor Kevin Drakulich explores how the public thinks about and understands crime and justice issues. The primary goal of these research projects is to understand how experiences with and perceptions of crime and the justice system influence policy views and political behavior—in short, how crime and justice issues matter to policy and politics. 

Project Description:

Professor Drakulich has proposed questions to and used data from the American National Election Studies (ANES) from 2006 to the present. Using ANES data, Professor Drakulich and several graduate students are conducting various studies of public opinion on a variety of crime and justice issues, including the policing of protests, felon disenfranchisement, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The research teams are using survey questions to quantitatively assess the extent to which public opinion is influenced by other variablesincluding racial animus and intersectional threat.

Professor Drakulich is also conducting a study of punitive dissonance with Professor Megan Denver and Eric Rodriguez-Whitney, based on a recent national survey they fielded. The research team seeks to determine whether acceptance of punitive policies is conditioned on the abstract belief that the punishment will be inflicted upon others.  Future work on altruistic fear, COVID, and gun purchases is under way.

Northeastern Research Team


Drakulich, Kevin, Eric Rodriguez-Whitney*, and Jesenia Robles*. Accepted“Who Believes that the Police Use Excessive Force? Centering Racism in Research on Perceptions of the Police.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

Drakulich, Kevin, Eric Rodriguez-Whitney*, and Jesenia Robles*. 2022A Subtle but Vital Shift in Focus: Why White Americans More Frequently Fail to View the Police Critically.” Du Bois Review. Early online 4/19/22.

Drakulich[JR2] [DK3] , Kevin, and Brandon M. Craig*. 2022How Intersectional Threat Shapes Views of Gun Policy: The John Wayne Solution.” Social Problems. Early online 3/18/22.

Drakulich, Kevin, and Megan Denver. 2022The Partisans and The Persuadables: Public Views of Black Lives Matter and the 2020 Protests.” Perspectives on Politics. Early online 3/1/22.

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