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The Urban-Rural Political Divide

I grew up on a family farm in rural Minnesota, where my family planted corn and soybeans, as well as raised some chickens and cattle. The experience of growing up in a rural area profoundly influenced how I view politics and political division in the U.S. and globally. This is the motivation for my research on urban-rural division, with a particular focus on rural identity and affect. Alongside several papers in progress on this topic, I am also working on a book project on emotions and place in political behavior, which draws on some insights in my dissertation.

Published work:

[5] Lin, J., & Lunz Trujillo, K. 2023. “Are Rural Attitudes Just Republican?” Preprint DOI: Conditionally accepted at Political Science Research and Methods.

[4] Lin, J. and Lunz Trujillo, K. (2022). “Urban-Rural Differences in Non-Voting Political Behaviors.” Political Research Quarterly.

[3] Lunz Trujillo, K., and Crowley, Z. (2022). "Symbolic versus Material Concerns of Rural Consciousness in the United States."  Political Geography, 9(61).

    - Research covered in the New York Times.

[2] Lunz Trujillo, K. (2022). "Rural Identity as a Contributing Factor to Anti-Intellectualism in the US. Political Behavior, 1-24."

    - Research covered in Newsweek and FiveThirtyEight.

[1] Lunz Trujillo, K. (2021). A Case of Misunderstood Identity: The Role of Rural Identity in Contemporary American Mass Politics. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

Misinformation and Health Attitudes

I also research health and vaccine misinformation endorsement and correction. This work began in 2018 by looking at general vaccine skepticism, though with some emphasis on the MMR vaccine. Since the pandemic, this research has expanded to COVID-19 and other vaccines. Studies from this line of work are published in various outlets including Political Research Quarterly, International Journal of Public Opinion ResearchSocial Science & Medicine, and Politics, Groups, and Identities. One of these papers, "How Internet Access Drives Global Vaccine Skepticism" (with Matt Motta), won the Leonard S. Robins Award for Best Paper on Health Politics and Policy presented to the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Another won the Best Paper in 2021 for the Journal of Rural Health. Further, I have interviewed on both lines of research for outlets such as Newsweek, FiveThirtyEight, Times Radio UK, and The Star Tribune . I have also co-written news pieces on vaccine hesitancy that have been picked up in various media sources such as Time, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes.

Published papers:​

[10 Lunz Trujillo, K., Green, J., Safarpour, A., Lazer, D., Lin, J., & Motta, M. 2023. “Covid-19 Spillover Effects onto General Vaccine Attitudes.” Preprint DOI: Accepted at Public Opinion Quarterly.

[9] Motta, M., Callaghan, T., & Lunz Trujillo, K. 2023. “‘The CDC Won’t Let Me Be:’ The Opinion Dynamics of Support for Health Agencies’ Regulatory Authority.” Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law: 10852592. DOI:

[8] Motta, M., Callaghan, T., Lunz Trujillo, K., & Lockman, A. 2023. “Erroneous Consonance: How Inaccurate Beliefs About Physician Opinion Influence COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy.” Vaccine, 41(12): 2093-2099. DOI:

[7] Sylvester, S., Motta, M., Lunz Trujillo, K., & Callaghan, T. (2022). “Vaccinating Across the Aisle: Using Co-Partisan Source Cues to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in the Ideological Right.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

[6] Callaghan, T., M. Motta, S. Sylvester, & K. Lunz Trujillo. (2021). “Identifying the Prevalence, Correlates, and Policy Consequences of Anti-Vaccine Social Identity.” Politics, Groups, and Identities. DOI:

[5] Lunz Trujillo, K. & M. Motta. (2021). “How Internet Access Drives Global Vaccine Skepticism.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research. DOI:
(Received the Leonard S. Robins Award for Best Paper on Health Politics and Policy presented to the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.)

[4] Callaghan, T., J. Lueck, K. Lunz Trujillo, & A. Ferdinand. (2021). “Rural and Urban Differences in COVID-19 Prevention Behaviors.” Journal of Rural Health, 37(2): 287-295. DOI:
- Research covered in Forbes.

[3] Motta, M., S. Sylvester, T. Callaghan, & K. Lunz Trujillo. (2021). “Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccine
Uptake Through Effective Health Communication.” Frontiers in Political Science - Politics of Technology, Special Issue, 28. DOI:

[2] Lunz Trujillo, K., M. Motta, T. Callaghan, & S. Sylvester. (2021). “Correcting Misinformation Endorsement about the MMR Vaccine: Identifying Psychological Risk Factors and Effective Communication Strategies.” Political Research Quarterly, 74(2): 464-478. DOI:

[1] Callaghan, T., M. Motta, S. Sylvester, K. Lunz Trujillo, & C. Crudo Blackburn. (2019). “Parent psychology and the decision to delay childhood vaccination.” Social Science & Medicine, 238: 112407. DOI:

Conjoint Experiments and Who Receives Health/Welfare Funding

Finally, I have a line of research that employs conjoint experiments to understand which considerations people use in determining who deserves health care funding, or who is stereotypically is on welfare, in the minds of Americans. One of these papers won an Honorable Mention for the Leonard S. Robins Award for Best Paper on Health Politics and Policy presented to the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.

Published papers:

[2] Zhirkov, K., Lunz Trujillo, K., & Myers, C. D. 2023. “Measuring Support for Welfare Policies: Implications for the Effects of Race and Deservingness Stereotypes.” Conditionally accepted at the Journal of Experimental Political Science.

[1] Myers, C.D., Zhirkov, K., & Lunz Trujillo, K.  (2022). “Who is “On Welfare”? Validating the Use of Conjoint Experiments to Measure Stereotype Content.” Political Behavior.

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