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Zsolt Nyiri

Associate Professor, Political Science and Law

Dickson Hall 211
M.P.A., Bowling Green State University
M.A., University of Budapest
M.Phil., Central European University
Ph.D., University of Connecticut
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Dr. Nyiri is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, he was the Director of the Gallup World Poll in Europe and the Director of Transatlantic Trends at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Before that, he was a lecturer at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Dr. Nyiri is a political scientist and polling expert who has been responsible for the design, implementation, supervision, and analysis of surveys in more than thirty countries in Europe, Asia, and the United States. His current research focuses on European politics, transatlantic relations, research methods, public diplomacy, immigration and integration, and the relationship between public opinion and public policy making.

He is recognized for developing innovative scientific methodologies for polling hard to reach Muslim populations in Europe as well as polling decision makers in the U.S. and Europe. He served as part of a five-member expert panel for the European Science Foundation's office of European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST).

In 2013, he developed the first-ever joint-classroom partnership between an American and a foreign university under the aegis of the State Department’s eDiplomacy initiative. This ground-breaking course focused on common Transatlantic challenges and the processes through which ordinary citizens can shape politics, including public opinion polls and social media.

Dr. Nyiri has published his research in books and refereed journals including Political Research Quarterly, The World Bank Economic Review, Comparative European Politics, Harvard International Review, Rutgers University Press, Routledge, and Foreign Policy.


Comparative Politics (U.S. and Europe)
Political Behavior
Transatlantic Relations
Research Methodology
Muslims in the West

Office Hours


12:00 pm - 2:30 pm
10:15 am - 10:45 am


12:00 pm - 2:30 pm
10:15 am - 10:45 am

Research Projects

Teaching Research Methods in Political Science

Teaching Research Methods in Political Science brings together experienced instructors to offer a range of perspectives on how to teach courses in political science. It focuses on numerous topics, including identifying good research questions, measuring key concepts, writing literature reviews and developing information literacy skills.

Public opinion in Europe toward the U.S. and China

Perceptions of the United States in European public opinion greatly improved around 2008, while perceptions of China simultaneously deteriorated. The Transatlantic and Sino-European relationships stem from radically different historical contexts. Yet could the image of China and the image of the U.S. be related in the eyes of Europeans? This paper examines whether attitudes toward China have contributed to determining attitudes toward the U.S. in Europe by analyzing data from the Transatlantic Trends survey taken in 2010, a critical juncture in Europe’s relations with both the U.S. and China. We investigate three hypotheses about this relation: the “yin and yank” or negative correlation (the more Europeans fear China, the more positive they become about the U.S.; the more favorably Europeans view China, the more negatively they see the U.S.); the “open vs. closed” or positive correlation (the more favorably Europeans see China, the more favorably they see the U.S.; the more negatively they see China, the more negatively they see the U.S.); and no relation (European attitudes toward China and the U.S. are independent). To the question of whether anti-Chinese sentiment has the potential for replacing anti-Americanism in Europe, our main conclusion is that positively correlated attitudes toward the U.S. and China reveal a deep cleavage in Europe between those who are “in” and those who are “out” of globalization.

Measuring or Redefining Concepts in Comparative Politics? Challenges in Comparative Public Opinion

Comparative politics often involves testing of hypotheses using new methodological approaches without giving sufficient attention to the concepts which are fundamental to hypotheses, particularly the ability of these concepts to travel. Proper operationalizing requires deep reflection on the concept, not simply establishing how it should be measured. Conceptualising Comparative Politics --the flagship book of Routledge series of the same name- breaks new ground by emphasizing the role of thoroughly thinking through concepts and deep familiarity with the case that inform the conceptual reflection.

Public Opinion and Public Diplomacy in a Transatlantic Perspective

Since the end of the Cold War, a multi-polar world has replaced the dual power economic and political stranglehold previously shared by the US and Russia. Amid the shift in power politics, the transatlantic partnership between the US and Europe has retained its importance in shaping the outcome of future global developments. With the rise of the US as a major world power and the tremendous economic growths witnessed by countries such as China, India and Brazil, the political power structures within and outside the transatlantic relations have gradually undergone shifts that are important to recognise, understand and critically assess on a consistent basis.

Transatlantic Relations and Modern Diplomacy assesses the strengths and weaknesses of this enduring transatlantic relationship from multiple perspectives and disciplines at a time when the US and European countries are facing increasing economic pressures, significant political changes and substantial security concerns. Examining this relationship through a range of different lenses including historical, economic and cultural, this book highlights the importance of examining the transatlantic relationship from a variety of different contextual and historical perspectives in order to herald the future changes as informed global citizens.

Corruption and Confidence in Public Institutions: Evidence from a Global Survey

Well-functioning institutions matter for economic development. In order to operate effectively, public institutions must also inspire confidence in those they serve. We use data from the Gallup World Poll, a unique and very large global household survey, to document a quantitatively large and statistically significant negative correlation between corruption and confidence in public institutions. This suggests an important indirect channel through which corruption can inhibit development: by eroding confidence in public institutions. This correlation is robust to the inclusion of a large set of controls for country and respondent-level characteristics. Moreover we show how it can plausibly be interpreted as reflecting at least in part a causal effect from corruption to confidence. Finally, we provide evidence that individuals with low confidence in institutions exhibit low levels of political participation, show increased tolerance for violent means to achieve political ends, and have a greater desire to “vote with their feet” through emigration.