Professor of Political Science and British Politics
Research interests: political accountability (behavioural consequences of policy decisions and performance assessments); policy-relevant perceptions and beliefs about the national and local context, understanding of political and economic and other policy shocks; survey measurement; British elections.
I am the Director of the Nuffield Politics Research Centre and Westminster Bridge, which focuses on research into political accountability, representation and British elections, and which seeks to improve the dissemination of political science research to political audiences. I am also a Co-Director of the British Election Study – the longest running social survey in the UK, founded by Sir David Butler at Nuffield College; President of the British Politics Group of the American Political Science Association; and an elections analyst for ITV News' twice BAFTA nominated live election results programmes.
I am interested in better understanding the link between what governments do (in terms of policy outcomes, the economy, and responsibility for policy and other shocks) and how people respond to them, in terms of updating their policy and political preferences, their local and national beliefs and perceptions, and also their vote choices.
I am a co-author (with the British Election Study team), of 'Electoral Shocks: Understanding the Volatile Voter in a Turbulent World', OUP. This book explains how the British party system is destabilizing due to the combination of electoral shocks and over time increases in underlying electoral volatility.
I am also author, with Will Jennings, of 'The Politics of Competence: Parties, Public Opinion and Voters', CUP, 2017. We show how shocks cause substantial changes to party policy reputations, how voters generalise competence assessments across the policy agenda, and how governments suffer costs of ruling due to predictable over-time dynamics in the attribution of blame.
I am working on a number of projects to better understand sources of support for Brexit that have otherwise been overlooked; via perceived winners and losers of economic and social change using novel survey measurement, workplace and other sources of gender resentment, and the role of individual level wealth in providing insurance against the risks of Brexit.
I also work on understanding sources of error in survey measurement, the basis of people’s perceptions of policy outcomes, at both a local and national level, and other aspects of the dynamics and outcomes of British politics and policy-making.
I take an active role in the analysis of British politics and elections and have served as ITV News Election Analyst in the 2015 general election, the 2016 EU referendum, the 2016 US presidential election, the 2017 British general election, the 2019 British general election and will again provide analysis for the upcoming 2020 US presidential election. I have also provided analysis for the BBC (BBC Radio 4 2019 European Elections results programme, BBC television 2014 local elections results programme, 2010 and 2005 BBC World Service radio election night programmes). In 2015 I received the Political Studies Association ‘Research Communicator of the Year’ award. I served on the Market Research Society and British Polling Council independent inquiry into the 2015 opinion polls and have given evidence to committees in the House of Lords and the House of Commons. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, an Affiliate at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and an editorial member of Comparative Political Studies. I was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, 2016, and at the University of California at Berkeley in 2007. I received my DPhil from Nuffield College in 2007.