Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Cassese's research and teaching interests lie broadly in American politics and political behavior, with an emphasis on gender, race, and representation. Her current projects focus on gender-based attacks in negative political campaigning and dehumanization in campaign rhetoric.
Investigates the effects of trait and issue based campaign attacks on candidate evaluations and voter decision making. Finds female candidates are particularly vulnerable to attacks on stereotypically feminine traits and issues.
Explores gender differences in policy attitudes both across parties and within parties. Finds Republican women are more moderate than Republican men in several policy areas, but that gender differences across party are more meaningful than gender differences within parties.
Investigates female candidates' electoral success in Congressional races that are "open seats"- meaning that no incumbent is running in the contest. Finds that female candidates face greater harm in fields with multiple high-quality challengers when compared to similarly-situated male candidates.
Examines the effects of religiosity on the political behavior of men and women. Finds evidence that conservative religious beliefs uniquely affect women's political identities in ways that depress political behavior.
Explores how beliefs about race and gender shape support for pay equity policy. Finds that support varies depending on the characteristics of women who stand to benefit from programs that would ensure equal pay for men and women.