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Stephen P. Nicholson

Stephen P. Nicholson
Associate Professor
(209) 228-4036
  • Ph.D., 1998 — University of California, Davis
  • M.A., 1993 — University of California, Davis
  • B.A., 1989 — University of California, Los Angeles
2008 - Best Paper Award, Southwestern Political Science Association
Research Interests: 
  • American politics
  • Voting behavior
  • Public opinion
  • Political psychology
  • Direct democracy
Media Contact: 

Political debate is encouraged in Stephen Nicholson's political science classes. He spends his research hours examining the political process and voter behavior, including voter turnout, how voters view ballots with their various propositions and measures and how voters make sense of complicated ballots and proposals.

California had once of its biggest ballots in history recently, and Nicholson's book, “Voting the Agenda,” published last year by the Princeton University Press, looks at how ballot measures can influence candidate elections. He has also been researching how voters choose to help groups they like – such as veterans and seniors – and harm those they don`t, such as prison inmates.

Some of his research also includes how California's propositions shape the public's perceptions of national issues; how the order of items on a ballot affects outcome; and people's opinions of Congress and whether partisan control affects those feelings.

Nicholson can offer expert commentary on American politics, voting behavior, public opinion, political psychology and direct democracy (ballot measures or ballot initiatives). He spent six years teaching at Georgia State University in Atlanta, but is a native Californian who earned his Ph.D. in 1998 and master's in 1993, both from UC Davis. He completed his bachelor's in 1989 at UCLA.