Stella Rouse, Ph.D.

Full Professor

University of Maryland at College Park

Year of PhD: 2008

Phone: 3014054194

Address: 3140 Tydings Hall

City: College Park, Maryland - 20742

Country: United States

About Me:

Stella Rouse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. She is also the Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement and Associate Director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll.  Her research and teaching interests focus on Latino politics, minority politics, Millennial politics, state politics, and immigration. She is the author of the book, Latinos in the Legislative Process: Interests and Influence (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which was voted as one of the best political science books of 2013 by The Huffington Post. Her second book, The Politics of Millennials: Political Beliefs and Policy Preferences of America’s Most Diverse Generation (co-authored with Ashley Ross), was released in August of 2018. She has published articles on group dynamics and cosponsorship, religion and ethno-racial political attitudes, Latino representation and education, and Millennials and immigration. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Rouse has presented her work at such forums as the Brookings Institute, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. She has also written for such outlets as The Washington Post's Monkey Cage, The Conversation, Reuters, NBC News, and Scholars Strategy Network. Rouse is a native of Colombia. When she was two years old, her parents immigrated to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where she grew up. She fluently speaks, reads, and writes Spanish.

Research Interests

Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Legislative Politics

State and Local Politics

Immigration & Citizenship

Public Opinion

Politics Of Millennials

Youth Civic Engagement

Countries of Interest

United States

My Research:

My work is situated within the field of American politics with a concentration on minority and identity politics and a specialization in Latino politics. Broadly defined, I examine how minorities behave both within political institutions and in the mass public. My research can best be classified into two categories: 1) Latino Representation, Minority Representation, and Institutions and 2) Mass Political Behavior of Minorities and Millennials and attitudes about immigration.


Journal Articles:

(2020) The Impact of Electoral Arrangements on Minority Representation: District Magnitude and the Election of African American State Legislators, Election Law Journal

Previous research shows that multimember districts (MMDs) disadvantage African American candidates. However, these studies focus on only a few aspects of the electoral process and they may be time bound. Using a new data set, we examine the impact of district magnitude (the number of candidates elected from a single constituency) on the emergence, nomination, and general election of African Americans to the state legislature. Using data from recent elections to the Maryland state legislature, we find no evidence that district magnitude dims the electoral prospects of African American candidates. Our findings suggest that biases attributed to MMDs may have resulted from laws, partisan practices, customs, and political attitudes. The implementation of the Voting Rights Act, broad societal changes, and strategic adjustments by black candidates and voters may have mitigated the effects of previous biases resulting in the election of more African Americans in MMDs and other districts.

(2020) Gen Z, Gender and Covid-19, Politics & Gender

Using a national survey of Generation Z conducted in late May 2020, we measure attitudes about the impact of the coronavirus on personal health, financial and job concerns, view s about shelter-in-place laws, and 2020 voting intentions. Gen Z women express greater health and economic concerns and support for shelter-in-place measures than their male counterparts, but this gender gap is largely mitigated by party and other covariates. Party also mediates the differences between young male and female voters concerning the influence of the coronavirus on their vote choice in 2020. Notably, women have significantly greater concern about the impact of COVID-19 on their personal financial situation, while Gen Z men express more concern about their personal health amid COVID-19 in more fully specified statistical models. This research contributes to the growing literature that examines not only the sorting effect of party on the gender gap but also how different identities—in this case, generation—can help explain the persistent political divides between men and women.

(2019) Polarization of Climate Change Beliefs: The Role of the Millennial Generation Identity, Social Science Quarterly

Objective. This article explores how the Millennial Generation identity—the shared values and experiences of young adults (born between 1980 and 1997)—affects political polarization of climate change belief, specifically how it mediates the relationship between party affiliation and educational attainment. Method. To test this, an interaction between Millennial∗Republican∗education is estimated, using data from an original national survey administered in 2015. Results. Millennials are more likely to believe in the evidence of climate change and its anthropogenic causes than older adults of their same party affiliation. Unlike older adults, the most educated Millennials are not the most likely to adhere to political party stance; rather, it is among the least educated Millennials that party sorting is most evident. Conclusion. The Millennial Generation identity is meaningful for understanding political attitudes. Important distinctions exist between Millennials and older adults in the evaluation of climate change opinion and related policies.

(2015) Economic Uncertainty, Job Threat, and the Resiliency of the Millennial Generation’s Attitudes toward Immigration, Social Science Quarterly

Objective. Drawing a distinction between conditional and prevalence factors that affect immigration attitudes, we examine if the recent economic recession has influenced the Millennial Generation’s attitudes about immigration, compared to non-Millennials. Method. Employing data from the 2008 American National Election Study, we conduct a logit analysis to estimate the effects of theoretically relevant factors on immigration attitudes. Results. Our findings indicate that even in the face of poor economic conditions that disproportionately impacted Millennials, this cohort’s attitudes toward immigration are quite resilient. While Millennials’ immigration attitudes vary across a number of determinants, overall, they are more tolerant of immigration than non-Millennials. Conclusion. Millennials’ tolerance of immigration is consistent with their general liberal beliefs. This is true even under the conditional impact of economic self-interest and the conditional and prevalence impact of culture during the recession—a time when Millennials could have been susceptible to factors mitigating their feelings toward immigrants.

(2013) Shades of Faith: Religious Foundations of Political Attitudes Among African Americans, Latinos and Whites, American Journal of Political Science

Although there is considerable evidence that religion influences political opinions, it is unclear how this story plays out across different segments of the U.S. population. Utilizing the 2000 Religion and Politics Survey, we examine the effects of religious beliefs, behaviors, and affiliations on citizens’ attitudes relating to issues of egalitarianism. Our study is one of the few to comparatively analyze the link between religious measures and political outlooks for the nation’s three largest ethno-racial groups. The findings show that conservative Christianity is consistently associated with less tolerant and less egalitarian views among whites. Religious African Americans and Latinos, however, hold more equitable opinions about disadvantaged individuals. To further strengthen our arguments, we also replicate these results using the 2008 American National Election Study. Overall, we demonstrate that a single perspective on religion and public opinion does not apply to all groups.

(2013) Media Coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court: How Do Journalists Assess the Importance of Court Decisions?, Political Communication

Agenda-setting theory is central to understanding the connection between media and American government. Indeed, legislative and executive branches of American government are often characterized by their publicity-seeking behavior. This is not true of the judicial branch. However, the importance of media coverage is magnified for the United States Supreme Court because, lacking the public affairs mechanisms of the other two branches, the Court is dependent on media dissemination of information about its decisions. Despite this important role, little is known about what attracts media to cover Supreme Court cases. We ask what case characteristics attract media attention. We examine the effect of case variables on general media coverage of Court decisions (a concept we call “newsworthiness,” measured by whether mention of a given case decision appears on the front page of the New York Times) and on inclusion of a case on a list of legally significant cases over time (a concept we call “legal salience,” measured by the appearance of a case in the Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to the Supreme Court). Examining cases over a 54-year period, we identify characteristics of cases appearing in either the New York Times or the CQ Guide or both. We conclude media news values may not always lead to coverage of the most legally salient cases, but some overlap indicates several cues used to judge immediate newsworthiness of cases stand the retrospective evaluation of legal significance.

(2011) Networks in the Legislative Arena: How Group Dynamics Affect Cosponsorship, Legislative Studies Quarterly

In this study, we explore the determinants of cosponsorship activity within state legislatures. Utilizing a social dynamic framework, we develop and test a model of the interplay of the activities of sponsorship and cosponsorship that includes both individual level and social network characteristics as determinants of agenda-setting behavior; the latter demonstrating how collaboration and mutual interests shape the agenda-setting process.We find several consistent factors that influence the frequency of cosponsorship activity: (1) ideological distance, (2) proximity of legislators’ districts, (3) homophily (similar characteristics such as race, gender, and ethnicity), and (4) transitivity (the idea that friends of my friends are also my friends).

(2010) Divided Loyalties? Understanding Variation in Latinos’ Attitudes Toward Immigration, Social Science Quarterly

Using data from a 2004 national survey of Latinos, we examine the determinants of Latinos’ attitudes toward immigration. We develop and test a model of competing theoretical explanations of Latino policy preferences on legal immigration, illegal immigration, and a proposed policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. We highlight three important findings. First, our results demonstrate “within group” differences in immigration attitudes among Latinos, based on both national origin and generational status; we find that Mexicans are more pro-immigration than Latinos from other countries, and, foreign-born Latinos have much more positive attitudes about immigration than second-generation and third-generation Latinos. Second, we find that Latino support for various aspects of immigration is primarily a function of ethnic and linguistic identity and attachment to the American culture, with self interest, contextual variables, and political and demographic attributes playing a smaller, more specialized role. Finally, we demonstrate that Latino attitudes toward legal and illegal immigration are highly related, and we find that there is a coherent structure underlying these attitudes.

(2010) Latino Representation and Education: Pathways to Latino Student Performance, State Politics and Policy Quarterly

The rapid growth of the Latino population in the U.S. over the past fifteen years has led to a significant increase in levels of primary and secondary school enrollment rates of Latino children. Research on Latino education has demonstrated the institutional and contextual challenges faced by this increasingly significant group, but studies that link Latino representation and Latino educational performance have neglected to sort out the direct and indirect effects of representation on student achievement. The central assumption in these studies outlines a casual chain running from Latino political representation—school boards—to Latino bureaucratic representation—administrators and teachers—to Latino student performance. This study tests these theoretical assumptions by employing a path analytic model using data from 1,040 Texas school districts for the years 1997-2001 to tease out the direct and indirect effects of Latino representation on Latino student achievement. We find robust evidence of the impact of Latino political representation on Latino educational attainment in Texas, operating via a direct effect on the number of Latino administrators and teachers and an indirect effect on Latino student performance. Additionally, our results demonstrate that descriptive representation becomes substantive representation in the area of education policy for Latinos and that this relationship remains strong over time. These findings underscore the importance of school board elections and school district hiring practices on Latino student performance.

(2006) The Drug-Laden Balloon: U.S. Military Assistance and Coca Production in the Central Andes, Social Science Quarterly

Objective. This article explores the empirical effects of U.S. drug policy on coca cultivation in the Central Andes. We assess the impact of U.S. military assistance on the production of coca in the Central Andes, while controlling for other explanatory variables that influence coca cultivation. Method. Using data from 1980–2001 for Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, we perform a pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis. Results. The effects of U.S. military assistance on coca cultivation are not uniform across the Central Andes. Coca production decreased in Bolivia and Peru and increased in Colombia. Total coca production in the Central Andes, however, remained unchanged. Conclusion. This study is consistent with existing literature that points out the obstacles governments face as they attempt to suppress illicit goods. Specifically, our empirical findings support the idea of the ‘‘balloon effect,’’ whereby government efforts to ‘‘squeeze’’ illicit trade in one area result in the expansion of that trade elsewhere.

Books Written:

(2018) The Politics of Millennials: Political Beliefs and Policy Preferences of America's Most Diverse Generation, University of Michigan Press

The book offers a first of its kind analysis of the Millennial Generation’s political attitudes and policy preferences. The book utilizes data from multiple original surveys, as well as from extensive, original focus group interviews, to explore how the Millennial Generation identity or frame affects this cohorts political attitudes. The findings show that important and unique characteristics of the Millennial Generation significantly and substantively affect this cohort’s political attitudes, policy preferences, and levels of political engagement, which have meaningful implications for the current and future U.S. political landscape.

(2013) Latinos in the Legislative Process: Interests and Influence, Cambridge University Press

In one of the only expansive accounts of Latino legislative behavior, I examine how well the growing Latino population translates their increased presence into legislative influence. Latinos is the Legislative Process: Interests and Influence explores Latino representation by taking a comprehensive look at the role of ethnicity throughout the legislative process—from bill sponsorship, to committee deliberations, to floor votes—in seven state legislatures. The book first identifies the issues that are priorities for Latinos and answers the question of whether a Latino political agenda truly exists. The book then provides a theoretical framework about the role of ethnicity in legislative behavior and outcomes. I demonstrate that ethnicity plays a variable role in the legislative process, contingent upon a number of factors. As Latinos continue to expand their influence, Latinos in the Legislative Process shows that ethnicity is a complex dynamic and that Latino representation cannot be viewed monolithically.


(2017) Colombian-Americans, Oxford University Press

Colombian-Americans are people of Colombian descent (both immigrants and native born) who reside in the United States. Colombian immigrants were some of the first South Americans to settle in the United States (likely around the mid-19th century), and in the early 21st century, they make up the largest immigrant population from South America (about one million). The first identifiable Colombian immigrant communities were established in New York City after World War I. New York City and Miami have had the largest Colombian populations—following the general trend of South American migrants to reside mostly on the East Coast. Studies have examined the experience of Colombian-Americans dealing with the effects of demographic characteristics, immigration, the stigma of drug trafficking, levels of assimilation and acculturation, settlement locales, politics and political participation, language, US-Colombian relations, and culture. Although Colombian-Americans are the largest South American ethnic group in the United States, and are unique in many respects, studies often lump them under the “Latino” or “Hispanic” label, include them among a number of other groups, or exclude them altogether. This cursory treatment, in terms of broad categorization, is not unique to Colombian-Americans (most Latino-origin groups are labeled this way), but it does make it more difficult to disentangle the literature that may apply to or that examines this particular group.

Media Appearances:

Radio Appearances:

(2017) NPR

"Races for Governor Put Trump's Immigration Message on the Ballot"

Newspaper Quotes:

(2018) NBC News

"Groups ramp up voter registration efforts targeting young Latinos"

(2018) NBC News

"Young Latinos: Born in the U.S.A., carving their own identity"

(2018) Vox

"9 experts warn that Latino dislike of Trump may not translate into midterm turnout"

(2018) Dallas Morning News

"Beto O"Rourke, Ted Cruz Struggle to Capture Loyalty of Young Texans"

(2017) NBC News

"Busy Summer's Over, but Fall Means More Heat for Democrats' Tom Perez."

(2017) NBC News

"GOP Attack Ads Linking Gangs to Immigration Rankle Latino Advocates"

Blog Posts:

(2015) Scholars Strategy Network

"U.S. Latinos Care About Many Issues Beyond Immigration" Latinos living in the United States comprise the largest number of immigrants of any racial or ethnic group – and for this reason, many Americans presume that immigration is the issue that matters most to Latino citizens and residents. But is that true? Do Latinos themselves view immigration as their top concern, and if not what other issues are high on their political agenda? My research tackles this question, which is important for understanding the potential political influence of the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States.


(2018) Democracy Works

From cooking to shopping to getting around town, disruption is the name of the game for Millennials. Will they do the same thing to democracy? Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, are now largest generational group in the United States. There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether these 20 and 30-somethings will vote in the 2018 midterms. This episode touches on that, but also explores some of the reasons why Millennials feel disengaged from voting and other traditional forms of political engagement. Our guest this week literally wrote the book on this topic. Stella Rouse is co-author of The Politics of Millennials, which draws upon existing data about Millennials, as well as surveys and focus groups that Stella and co-author Ashely Ross conducted. They found that events like 9/11 an the 2008 financial crisis profoundly shaped the way Millennials view the world and their place within it — views that run counter to older generations and their views of democratic engagement.

(2017) NBC News

Latinos Need a Voice. Where is It? In the age of Trump, Latinos need a national leader more than ever. There is no consensus on whether one exists or who that should be.

(2016) Reuters

It’s Not Only Trumpers Who Believe Voting is Rigged A substantial majority of American agree with Trump that "the system is rigged." This adds uncertainty about how some will vote in the 2016 presidential elections.

(2014) NBC News

"With Changing Demographics, Will GOP Congress Debate Minimum Wage? After President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, the political headlines have focused on how the Republican-led Congress will react on the issue. Yet lost in the large shadow of the immigration debate is whether the 2015 Congress will tackle other issues important to Latinos, especially minimum wage legislation.