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Social Sciences: Politics & International RelationsPart of Social Sciences
(023) 8059 3998

Professor Will Jennings 

Head of Department of Politics & International Relations, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance

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As a professor in the Department of Politics & International Relations, my research is concerned with questions relating to public policy and political behaviour – such as how issues get onto the policy agenda, how people form their vote preferences over time (and how polls do or don’t line up with the eventual outcome as election day approaches), how voters judge the competence of parties, and why major projects and sports events go over budget so often.

Will Jennings is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance at the University of Southampton. Previously I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. I completed my doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2004. My research is concerned with questions relating to public policy and political behaviour. I have written extensively on agenda-setting, public opinion, electoral behaviour, political parties, and the governance of mega-projects and mega-events. I am a methodological pluralist, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, but specialise in time series analysis.

I am currently engaged in several on-going research projects and collaborations. These include a project on 'The Politics of Competence' (with Jane Green, University of Manchester), which is investigating how voters evaluate the competence of political parties (, and a project on 'Long-term Trajectories of Crime in the UK’ (with Stephen Farrall and Emily Gray, University of Sheffield, and Colin Hay, Sciences Po). In a collaboration with Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield), Alan Renwick (UCL) and others, I am part of an ESRC-funded project that is organising citizens' assemblies in the Sheffield and Solent regions. I also have been working on political discontentment as part of a project on 'Popular Understandings of Politics’ (with Nick Clarke and Gerry Stoker, University of Southampton). I am Co-Director of the UK Policy Agendas Project (, and a member of the Comparative Agendas Project research network ( I am also undertaking a comparative study of polls and the vote in more than fifty countries (with Christopher Wlezien, University of Texas at Austin), and am currently sitting on the independent inquiry instigated by the British Polling Council and Market Research Society to investigate the performance of the pre-election polls at the 2015 general election. I am a Trustee of the UK Political Studies Association and Chair of its Research and Impact Sub-Committee. I also am a Research Associate at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science, a member of the Centre for Risk Research at the University of Southampton, an Associate Member of the Democracy & Elections Group at the University of Manchester, and Vice-Convenor of the Executive Politics and Governance Specialist Group of the UK Political Studies Association.

I am a member of the UK Political Studies Association and the American Political Science Association. My research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, European Journal of Political Research, Comparative Political Studies, Political Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly, Electoral Studies, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Government and Opposition, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Journal of European Public Policy, European Political Science Review, British Journal of Criminology, International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice and the Journal of Construction Management and Economics, in addition to numerous chapters published in edited volumes. Olympic Risks, my book about the governance of the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. Policy Agendas in British Politics (co-authored with Peter John, Anthony Bertelli and Shaun Bevan) was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.






Research interests

Research interests:

  • Public policy
  • Executive government.
  • Public opinion.
  • Comparative and British politics.
  • Political behaviour.
  • Risk governance in mega-projects and mega-events.
  • Time series analysis

Current research projects:

  • The Politics of Competence (with Jane Green).
  • The UK Policy Agendas Project (with Peter John and Shaun Bevan).
  • Comparative Analysis of Policy Agendas (with Shaun Bevan)
  • Risk and Mega-Events
  • Comparative Timelines of Election Campaigns (with Chris Wlezien).
  • Social and Economic Change and Crime in the UK (with Stephen Farrall, Colin Hay and Emily Gray).
  • Protest and Media Agendas (with Clare Saunders)
  • The Polling Observatory (with Rob Ford and Mark Pickup)

Research project(s)

Popular understandings of politics in Britain, 1937-2014

Acting Head of Department semester 2

Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance

Editor, Politics|Upside|Down, Politics & International Relations blog
Editor, @sotonpolitics, Politics & International Relations Twitter feed



  • Policy agendas in British politics - John, Peter, Bertelli, Tony, Jennings, Will and Bevan, Shaun
    Published by:
    Basingstoke, GB
  • Olympic risks - Jennings, Will
    Published by:
    Basingstoke, GB
    Executive Politics and Governance

Book Section(s)



  • Public Policy Analysis [PAIR2016/3025] for UGs.
  • Political Behaviour [PAIR2018/3027] for UGs.
  • MSc Supervision
  • PhD Supervision
Professor Will Jennings
Politics & International Relations Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3067

Telephone: (023) 8059 3998

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