Research Division

Political Behaviour

A man in a dark winter coat holding a ballot paper as he drops  it in the ballot box

We research political behaviour

We are one of the leading departments on the research of the UK's party system and elections. As a result the British election study was located at Essex between 2002 and 2012.

We conduct research on party positions, electoral strategies, political preferences and public opinion, and political behaviour. We also study the mutual influences between parties and voters and the conditions that shape these influences, partisan strategies in proportional electoral systems, the influence of public opinion on the decision to intervene into the Syria conflict, and much more.

We also contribute to three departmental methods working groups: mixed-methods research, data science & quantitative political methodology, and evidence & public policy. The methods working groups encourage collaboration across research divisions based on shared methodological interests and facilitate interdisciplinary research. They promote the representation of the full spectrum of empirical approaches in our political science research and teaching.

To discover which methods working group a division member belongs to, please read their profiles listed below: 

Our engagement


  • Schofield, NJ., Satchell, SE., Chatterji, M. and Whiteley, PF., Advanced Statistical Methods in Economics. Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • Whiteley, P., Economic Policy: International Library of Comparative Public Policy, Volumes I and II. Edward Elgar
  • Whiteley, PF., Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union
  • Allen, N., Bartle, J., Birch, S., Campbell, R., Clarke, HD., Curtice, J., Goodwin, M., Johns, R., Kenny, M., Quinn, T. and Whiteley, P., None past the post: Britain at the polls 2017. Manchester University Press


  • Whiteley, P. and Kölln, A-K., (2019). How Do Different Sources of Partisanship Influence Government Accountability in Europe?. International Political Science Review. 40 (4), 502-517
  • Whiteley, P., Poletti, M., Webb, P. and Bale, T., (2019). Oh Jeremy Corbyn! Why did Labour Party Membership Soar after the 2015 General Election?. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. 21 (1), 80-98
  • Whiteley, P., Larsen, E., Goodwin, M. and Clarke, H., (2019). Party Activism in the Populist Radical Right: The Case of the UK Independence Party. Party Politics, 135406881988014-135406881988014
  • Quiroz Flores, A. and Whiteley, P., (2018). The 'Beeching Axe' and Electoral Support in Britain. European Review of Economic History. 22 (3), 361-379
Contact us
Head of Research Division Professor Robert Johns
Department of Government, University of Essex
Departmental Director of Research Professor Han Dorussen
Department of Government, University of Essex