Social Sciences

Will Jennings

Primary position:
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy


The University of Southampton
Professor Will Jennings's photo

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, SciencesPo). 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 publish regular updates of support for the UK political parties and election forecasts as part of the 'Polling Observatory' team (with Rob Ford, University of Manchester, Mark Pickup, Simon Fraser University and Christopher Wlezien). 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.


The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Gray, Emily, Jennings, Will, Farrall, Stephen and Hay, Colin (2015) Small big data: using multiple data-sets to explore unfolding social and economic change. Big Data & Society (In Press).
Jennings, Will and Wlezien, Christopher (2015) The timeline of elections: a comparative perspective. American Journal of Political Science (In Press).
Jennings, Will and Wlezien, Christopher (2015) Preferences, problems and representation. Political Science Research Methods (In Press).
Ford, Robert, Jennings, Will and Somerville, Will (2015) Public opinion, responsiveness and constraint: Britain's three immigration policy regimes. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (In Press).
Jennings, Will, Gray, Emily, Hay, Colin and Farrall, Stephen (2015) Collating longitudinal data on crime, victimisation and social attitudes in England and Wales: a new resource for exploring long-term trends in crime. British Journal of Criminology (In Press).
Bevan, Shaun and Jennings, Will (2014) Representation, agendas and institutions. European Journal of Political Research, 53, (1), 37-56. (doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12023).
Wlezien, Christopher, Jennings, Will, Fisher, Stephen, Ford, Robert and Pickup, Mark (2013) Polls and the vote in Britain. Political Studies, 61, (S1), 129-154. (doi:10.1111/1467-9248.12008).
Jennings, Will (2013) Governing the Games: high politics, risk and mega-events. Political Studies Review, 11, (1), 2-14. (doi:10.1111/1478-9302.12002).
Jennings, Will, Farrall, Stephen and Bevan, Shaun (2012) The economy, crime and time: an analysis of recorded property crime in Britain, 1961-2006. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 40, (3), 192-210. (doi:10.1016/j.ijlcj.2012.03.004).
Jennings, Will (2012) The Olympics as a story of risk management. HBR Blog Network
Sindall, K., Sturgis, P. and Jennings, W. (2012) Public confidence in the police: a time-series analysis. British Journal of Criminology, 52, (4), 744-764. (doi:10.1093/bjc/azs010 ).
Green, Jane and Jennings, Will (2012) Valence as macro-competence: an analysis of mood in party competence evaluations in Great Britain. British Journal of Political Science, 42, (2), 311-343. (doi:10.1017/S0007123411000330).
Jennings, Will (2012) Why costs over-run: risk, optimism and uncertainty in budgeting for the London 2012 Olympics. [in special issue: Constructing and managing the Olympics] Construction Management and Economics, 30, (6), 455-462. (doi:10.1080/01446193.2012.668200).
John, Peter, Bevan, Shaun and Jennings, Will (2011) The policy-opinion link and institutional change: the legislative agenda of the UK and Scottish parliaments. Journal of European Public Policy, 18, (7), 1052-1068. (doi:10.1080/13501763.2011.599982).
Mortensen, Peter Bjerre, Green-Pedersen, Christoffer, Breeman, Gerard, Chaqués-Bonafont, Laura, Jennings, Will, John, Peter, Palau, Anna M. and Timmermans, Arco (2011) Comparing government agendas: executive speeches in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Denmark. Comparative Political Studies, 44, (8), 973-1000. (doi:10.1177/0010414011405162).
Jennings, Will, Bevan, Shaun, Timmermans, Arco, Breeman, Gerard, Brouard, Sylvain, Chaqués-Bonafont, Laura, Green-Pedersen, Christoffer, John, Peter, Mortensen, Peter B. and Palau, Anna M. (2011) Effects of the core functions of government on the diversity of executive agendas. Comparative Political Studies, 44, (8), 1001-1030. (doi:10.1177/0010414011405165).
Fisher, Stephen D., Ford, Robert, Jennings, Will, Pickup, Mark and Wlezien, Christopher (2011) From polls to votes to seats: forecasting the 2010 British general election. [in special issue: Special Symposium: Electoral Forecasting Symposium] Electoral Studies, 30, (2), 250-257. (doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2010.09.005).
Jennings, Will, Bevan, Shaun and John, Peter (2011) The agenda of British government: the speech from the throne, 1911-2008. Political Studies, 59, (1), 74-98. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2010.00859.x).
Jennings, Will and Wlezien, Christopher (2011) Distinguishing between most important problems and issues? Public Opinion Quarterly, 75, (3), Autumn Issue, 545-555. (doi:10.1093/poq/nfr025).
Pickup, Mark, Matthews, Scott J., Jennings, Will, Ford, Robert and Fisher, Stephen D. (2011) Why did the polls overestimate Liberal Democrat support? Sources of polling error in the 2010 British general election. Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties, 21, (2), 179-209. (doi:10.1080/17457289.2011.563309).
Jennings, Will (2010) Bureaucratic performance and control in British politics: asylum policy 1994-2007. British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 12, (4), 539-568. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-856X.2010.00412.x).
John, Peter and Jennings, Will (2010) Punctuations and turning points in British politics: the policy agenda of the Queen’s speech, 1940-2005. British Journal of Political Science, 40, (3), 561-586. (doi:10.1017/S0007123409990068).
Hood, Christopher, Jennings, Will, Dixon, Ruth, Hogwood, Brian and Beeston, Craig (2009) Testing times: exploring staged responses and the impact of blame management strategies in two examination fiasco cases. European Journal of Political Research, 48, (6), 695-722. (doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2009.01830.x).
Jennings, Will and John, Peter (2009) The dynamics of political attention: public opinion and The Queen’s Speech in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Political Science, 53, (4), 838-854. (doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00404.x).


John, Peter, Bertelli, Tony, Jennings, Will and Bevan, Shaun (2013) Policy agendas in British politics, Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan (In Press).
Jennings, Will (2012) Olympic risks, Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan, 280pp. (Executive Politics and Governance).

Book Section

John, Peter, Bevan, Shaun and Jennings, Will (2014) Party politics and the policy agenda: the case of the United Kingdom. In, Green-Pedersen, Christoffer and Walgrave, Stefaan (eds.) Agenda Setting, Policies, and Political Systems: A Comparative Approach. Chicago, US, University of Chicago Press.
Farrall, Stephen and Jennings, Will (2014) Thatcherism and crime: the beast that never roared? In, Farrall, Stephen and Hay, Colin (eds.) The Legacy of Thatcherism: Assessing and Exploring Thatcherite Social and Economic Policies. London, GB, Oxford University Press, 207-233. (British Academy Original Paperbacks).
Jennings, Will (2013) Error-correction as a concept and as a method: Time series analysis of policy-opinion responsiveness. In, Bruter, Michael and Lodge, Martin (eds.) Political Science Research Methods in Action. , Palgrave Macmillan, 203-228. (Research Methods Series).
Jennings, Will (2012) Executive politics, risk and the mega-project paradox. In, Lodge , Martin and Wegrich, Kai (eds.) Executive Politics in Times of Crisis. Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan, 239-263. (Executive Politics and Governance).
Jennings, Will and Lodge, Martin (2012) The Olympic Games: coping with risks and crises at a mega-event. In, Helsloot, Ira, Boin, Arjen and Jacobs, Brian (eds.) Mega-Crises: Understanding the Prospects, Nature, Characteristics and Effects of Cataclysmic Events. Illinois, US, Charles C. Thomas, 263-278.
Jennings, Will (2010) Governing the games in an age of uncertainty: the Olympics and organisational responses to risk. In, Richards, Anthony , Fussey, Pete and Silke, Andrew (eds.) Terrorism and the Olympics: Major Event Security and Lessons for the Future. Abingdon, GB, Routledge, 135-162. (Political Violence).
Jennings, Will and Lodge, Martin (2010) Critical infrastructures, resilience and organisation of mega-projects: the Olympic Games. In, Hutter, Bridget M. (ed.) Anticipating Risks and Organising Risk Regulation. Cambridge, GB, Cambridge University Press, 161-184.

Conference or Workshop Item

Jennings, Will and Lodge, Martin (2015) Comparing blunders in Government. In, U.K. Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Sheffield, GB, 30 Mar - 01 Apr 2015.


Jennings, Will (2012) Mega-events and risk colonization: risk management and the Olympics. London, GB, London School of Economics and Political Science, 27pp. (Discussion Paper, 71).
Jennings, Will and Lodge, Martin (2009) Tools of security risk management for the London 2012 Olympic Games and FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany. London, GB, London School of Economics and Political Science, 24pp. (ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation Discussion Paper, 55).


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

Popular understandings of politics in Britain, 1937-2014


Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance
Editor, Politics|Upside|Down, Politics & International Relations blog
Editor, @sotonpolitics, Politics & International Relations Twitter feed

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Public Policy Analysis [PAIR2016/3025] for UGs.
  • Political Behaviour [PAIR2018/3027] for UGs.
  • MSc Supervision
  • PhD Supervision


Professor Will Jennings
Reception Building 58
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3067

Telephone: (023) 8059 3998