The University of Southampton
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Professor Will Jennings 

Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance

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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.

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.

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 a number of 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 comparative study of polls and the vote in more than fifty countries (with Christopher Wlezien, University of Texas at Austin). In a collaboration with Alan Renwick (UCL), Graham Smith (Westminster), Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield), and others, I have recently been involved in projects organising citizens' assemblies on topics such as Brexit and devolution. I also have been working on the rise of political discontentment as part of a project on 'Popular Understandings of Politics’ (with Nick Clarke, Gerry Stoker and Jonathan Moss, University of Southampton). I am Co-Director of the UK Policy Agendas Project, and a member of the Comparative Agendas Project research network. I was a member of 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 sit on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Studies, Journal of European Public Policy and Public Administration.

My research has been published in journals including the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, European Journal of Political Research, Public Opinion Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science and Research Methods, Governance, Public Administration, Political Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Political Geography, British Journal of Criminology, Social Forces, Contemporary British History and the Political Quarterly 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. My book with Jane Green, The Politics of Competence: Parties, Public Opinion and Voters is published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.






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 Shaun Bevan).
  • The Comparative Timeline of Elections (with Chris Wlezien).
  • Protest and Media Agendas (with Clare Saunders)
  • The Polling Observatory (with Rob Ford and Mark Pickup)
  • The Rise of Anti-Politics in Britain (with Nick Clarke, Jonathan Moss and Gerry Stoker)
  • Comparative Analysis of Policy Blunders (with Martin Lodge)
  • The Bifurcation of Politics (with Gerry Stoker)
  • Citizens Assemblies (with Matt Flinders, Alan Renwick and Graham Smith) 

Research project(s)

Popular understandings of politics in Britain, 1937-2014

  • Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance
  • Director of Research
  • Curator, @sotonpolitics, Politics & International Relations Twitter feed



Book Chapters



Working Papers

  • 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 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number:58/3067

Telephone:(023) 8059 3998

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