Center for the Study of Los Angeles

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Center for the Study of Los Angeles
Formation1996; 27 years ago (1996)
Headquarters1 Loyola Marymount University Drive, Los Angeles, California

The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles (StudyLA) is a non-profit, non-partisan education and research institute at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

The Center for the Study of LA was founded in 1996 by Loyola Marymount University Political Science and Chicana/o studies professor Dr. Fernando Guerra with a grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation. Guerra is the director of the Center.

CSLA conducts public opinion polls, focusing on public policy and community interests in the city of Los Angeles. Its research covers voter interests, race relations, and urban outcomes.

Research collection[edit]

The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles Research Collection covers various aspects of the Los Angeles region. The collection contains numerous materials and documents unique to Los Angeles, including:[1]


Sacramento seminar[edit]

2012 Sacramento Seminar participants observe Occupy Sacramento protests and demonstrations

The Sacramento Legislative Seminar[2] is a longstanding program in Loyola Marymount University's Political Science Department. The program is offered, but not limited, to students enrolled in the Politics of California course held during the spring semester. The purpose of the Sacramento Seminar is to provide undergraduate students from various California institutions with hands-on exposure to California's political system. During the seminar, students participate in panel discussions which are held in the California State Capitol, where they engage in political discourse with prominent government officials, legislators, lobbyists, fellows, and scholars from across the state. The panel discussions give students the opportunity to ask these distinguished guests questions pertaining to a variety of topics. Throughout the seminar, students are encouraged to introduce themselves and meet with public officials and staff to seek personal career advice. The Center plays a significant role in organizing and coordinating the Sacramento Seminar for both the students and professors who attend annually.

Undergraduate research symposium[edit]

StudyLA undergraduate student researchers participate in the 2012 Undergraduate Research Symposium at LMU

The Undergraduate Research Symposium[3] invites undergraduate students formally to present displays of faculty-mentored research and other creative activity in all academic areas. The Center's undergraduate student researchers are encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium and receive extensive faculty mentorship and staff support with their project and presentation. Recent projects have featured research pertaining to Los Angeles redistricting and CSLA's Los Angeles Riots Anniversary surveys and exit polls.

Lecture series[edit]

For over a decade, the Center for the Study of Los Angeles has planned, coordinated and moderated the Urban Lecture Series and more recently the Fall Lecture Series.[4] The Lecture Series engage top government officials and community leaders in discussion and debate. The conversations are held at Loyola Marymount University on selected Tuesdays throughout the spring and fall semesters. Both series are televised and broadcast on public access television.[5]

Participants in the lecture series[edit]

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and CSLA Director Fernando Guerra


Exit polls[edit]

Following the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, discrepancies in exit poll results were proven to be the product of poor sampling techniques and inaccurate results. To mitigate the controversies surrounding exit poll methodology, the Center assembled a team of researchers who implemented a sampling technique known as the "racially stratified homogenous precinct approach" to accurately sample voters in the city of Los Angeles. Research conducted at the Center has shown that the city of Los Angeles is racially segregated, thus voters are more likely voting in racially homogenous precincts. The key component to the stratified approach is the selection of racially and ethnically homogenous precincts throughout the city of Los Angeles.[6][7][8]

The Center has conducted exit polls for the 2005 mayoral election,[9] 2008 presidential election,[10] and 2010 gubernatorial election.

Los Angeles riots quinquennial resident survey[edit]

In observance of the Los Angeles riots and disturbances of 1992, CSLA sponsors cross-sectional phone surveys of Los Angeles residents to study their overall perceived attitudes and concerns towards the city of Los Angeles. The CSLA Riots Anniversary Survey is conducted every 5th anniversary marking the L.A. riots and disturbances of 1992. The Riots Anniversary Survey provides data on LA residents' perceptions of race/ethnic relations, the Los Angeles Police Department, local government and neighborhood relations, the likelihood for future riots to occur, the overall direction of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles resident quality of life.[11]


  1. ^ "Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles Research Collection". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  2. ^ "Sacramento Legislative Seminar". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Undergraduate Research Symposium". Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  4. ^ "Lecture Series". Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "LA 36 Lecture Series Archive". Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  6. ^ Castro, Tony. "Researcher says polling places can influence voter's decision-making". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 20, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Poll #519: Los Angeles, 4/5-11, Mayoral Run-off" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. April 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Poll #520: Los Angeles, 5/2-8, Mayoral Run-off" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. May 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Orlov, Rick (January 30, 2005). "Mayor's race revs up; Broadcast and mail blitz about to begin in final weeks of campaigns". Los Angeles Daily News.
  10. ^ "The Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University Announces Initial Results from its 2008 Presidential Primary Exit Poll". Los Angeles Times. July 2, 2008.
  11. ^ Trounson, Rebecca (April 11, 2012). "Many say L.A. is safer 20 years after 1992 riots, poll finds". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2012.

External links[edit]