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A link to my publications database will be provided here as soon as it is made available.


I am a Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester. I work broadly in the areas of public opinion, electoral choice and party politics. My first book (co-authored with Matthew Goodwin) - "Revolt on the Right" - examined the rise of the UK Indpendence Party. It was named Political Book of the Year in 2015. I have edited two volumes of short essays for a general audience looking at voter behaviour and public opinion - "Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box" and "More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box". I comment regularly on elections, public opinion and politics for various media outlets, and via my twitter feed @robfordmancs. 

Research interests

I have various research interests within the broad areas of public opinion, electoral chocie and party politics. Some of the projects I am currently involved in, or recently completed include:

With Scott Blinder (Oxford) and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten (Bergen) , I am investigating how the interaction between racial prejudices and anti-racist norms influences the politics of immigration and the anti-immigrant far-right in Europe.

With Matthew Goodwin (Kent) I am continuing research into the rise of the radical right in Britain, and the role radical right politics in Brexit. 

With Anthony Heath (Manchester and Oxford) I am researching public opinion about immigration in Britain and Europe. We have helped design and field a number of new measures on both the British Social Attitudes survey and the European Social Survey (the latter in collaboration with a large team of European colleagues).

With Anouk Kootstra (Manchester and Amsterdam), Marcel Coenders and Menno van Setten (both Utrecht) I have commissioned and fielded a large new two country panel study "The Welfare State Under Strain" to look at public views of welfare and welfare recipients, and how these are influenced by diversity, immigration and austerity.

With Maria Sobolewska (Manchester) and Paul Sniderman (Stanford) I am looking at the resilience of tolerant attitudes towards Muslims, both in general and in specific response to terror attacks.  

Activities and esteem

Academic invitations for the presentation of external plenary lectures (reverse chronological order)

"Powell and after: Assessing the political impact of immigration", keynote speaker at "Rivers of Blood: 50 years on" event at Sciences-Po, Lille

"New divides over identity and immigration in Brexit Britain", plenary talk to the Canadian Political Science Association event on the politics of diversity, June 2017

"The New Political Divides in Brexit Britain: identity, nationalism and immigration", Glasgow University Mackenzie/Stephenson Lecture, March 2017

"What UKIP means for British party politics", Keynote address to Annual Conference of the German Association for the Study of British History and Politics, Wolfsburg, April 2016

"UKIP: Where next for the Revolt on the Right?", presentation at "The 2015 General Election Effect" conference organised by "Politics Review", February 2016

  "Party Politics and the English Question", presentation to Centre on English Identity and Politics, Winchester University, January 2016

 "The 2015 General Election", Keynote Address, 2015 Political Studies Association annual conference, Sheffield, April 2015  

5.         "Immigration and the Politics of Britishness", Liverpool, British Academy Debates series, October 2014

Presentation of academic conference papers in the UK and internationally (reverse chronological order)


2017: Canadian Political Science Association (Toronto, Canada, June); European Consortium of Political Research (Oslo, Norway, September) 

2015: New York Area Political Psychology meeting (New York City, November); European Sociological Association annual conference (Prague, August); American Political Science Association annual conference (Philadelphia, August)  International Society of Political Psychology annual conference (San Francisco, July);

2014: American Political Science Association annual conference (Washington DC, August); International Society of Political Psychology annual conference (Rome, June); Comparative Approaches to the Study of Immigration, Ethnicity and Religion (Stanford, California, May, invite only)


2018: Political Studies Association Elections, Public Opinion and Parties group annual conference (London, September 2018)

2017: Political Studies Association Elections, Public Opinion and Parties group annual conference (Nottingham, September 2017); Political Studies Association conference (London, April 2017)

2015: Political Studies Association Elections, Public Opinion and Parties group annual conference (Cardiff, September); Institute for Education LLAKES Research conference (London, June); British Election Study post-election conference (Nuffield College, Oxford, June 2015)

 2014: Runneymede Academic Forum (Manchester, June)

Selected other presentations of note (e.g. departmental seminars at prestigious universities): selection of invited presentations since 2014


"Immigration and the politics of identity in Britain", Munk School of Global Affairs, Toronto, Canada - invited speaker at international event on immigration politics

"The Welfare State Under Strain", Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada, January 2015

 "Immigration attitudes and the rise of UKIP in Britain", University of Utrecht, Netherlands, November 2014

"Identity threat, social norms and political messengers: policy experiments with Islamic schools proposals in 3 European countries", University of Bergen, Norway, November 2014


"Immigration and the future of British party politics", invited speaker at Social Market Foundation Labour party conference fringe event, September 2018

"Identity and the politics of immigration", invited speaker at Political Quarterly special issue workshop on Britain after Brexit. 

"New Divides in British Politics", invited speaker at event organised by Liam Byrne MP and Red Shift, Westminster, June 2018

"What Happened at the Local Elections?", invited speaker at event organised by Lisa Nandy MP and Centre for Townsn Westminster, May 2018

"Public opinion on immigration and Brexit", invited speaker at UK in a Changing Europe "Article 50: 1 Year On" event in London, March 2018

"Immigration and asylum attitudes in Britain and Europe", invited talk to senior Human Rights Watch staff, London, February 2018

Participant in House of Commons Home Affairs select committee evidence session on public opinion about immigration, Westminster, November 2017

Participant in Policy Network roundtable event on "New Political Dividing Lines", Westminster, July 2017

"UKIP and the Politics of English Nationalism", invited speaker at British Academy "Governing England" conference, July 2017

"The impact of origins and qualifications on attitudes to immigration", invited speaker at European Parliament event on the public opinion of immigration, Brussels, June 2017

"UKIP, Brexit and the state of British politics", invited speaker at European Parliament event on the radical right, Brussels, May 2017

"The 2015 General Election: Understanding the result", Department of Politics, University of Sussex, February 2016 

"The Welfare State Under Strain", Nuffield College, University of Oxford, January 2015

"Revolt on the Right: Understanding support for UKIP, London School of Economics and Political Science, May 2014

Major academic visits and collaborations, in the UK and abroad.


 Experiments in mutual accommodation (2014-date): collaboration with Paul Sniderman (Stanford), Elisabeth Ivarsflaten (Bergen), Yphtach Lelkes (Amsterdam), Rune Stubager and colleagues (Aarhus) and Maria Sobolewska (Manchester)

 Ongoing five country collaboration built around pioneering survey experiments on Muslim and ethnic minority integration conducted in parallel in four different European contexts.  

Understanding attitudes to immigration - collaboration with Anthony Heath (Oxford and Manchester), Eva Green (Lausanne), Eldad Davidov (Zurich), Peter Schmidt (Giessen), Alice Ramos (2011-date)

 This ongoing collaboration began as a national data collection effort, yielding a major grant award, two new data resources and (to date) two journal articles and two book chapters. The collaboration then developed into a major pan-European effort, which resulted in a successful bid to develop and field a new module of questions on the European Social Survey. These data were collected in 2015, and first results will be presented at a major international conference in 2016, funded by the British Academy following a further successful grant application by the lead collaborators, Ford and Heath, and has culminated in the production of a peer reviewed special issue in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, due to appear in 2019. 

Anti-prejudice social norms - collaboration with Elisabeth Ivarsflaten (Bergen) and Scott Blinder (University of Massachusetts, Amherst ) (2007-date)

This major international research collaboration and long running international collaboration has developed, tested and analysed a major new theoretical concept in political research, anti-prejudice social norms. Work on this topic has yielded a large store of innovative survey data, three journal articles, including the recent high profile publication in the American Journal of Political Science, which in turn attracted the attention of Professor Paul Sniderman and helped launch the collaborative work with him on minority integration . 

 The Welfare State Under Strain - collaboration with Marcel Coenders and Menno Van Setten (Netherlands) and Anouk Kootstra (Manchester) (2011-date)

 This ongoing international collaboration began with a British Academy small grant to pilot new survey experimental measures, and Dutch funding to replicate the survey in the Netherlands, followed by a large Open Research Area grant co-funded by ESRC and NWO (Netherlands) The grant has been used to develop and implement a major new panel survey in Britain and the Netherlands examining evolving attitudes to the welfare state, with the recruitment of two PhD students to work full time on the project (Van Setten and Kootstra). The team have produced numerous journal articles to date from this material and a book proposal will be submitted next year. 

Understanding the polls - collaboration with Christopher Wlezien (University of Texas, Austin), Mark Pickup (University of Vancouver), Will Jennings (University of Southampton) and Stephen Fisher (University of Oxford)

An international collaboration to develop new methods to aggregate and analyse polling data, to forecast elections based on these data, and to inform public debate on opinion polling via innovative data visualisation and knowledge exchange. The team produced four journal articles and a high profile blogging project which has received sustained national media attention, and our data has been used by the Electoral Commission. 

Prizes and awards

2018                 Royal Television Society Judges’ Award for the BBC/ITV/Sky Exit Poll team (with Sir John Curtice, Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, Stephen Fisher, Jouni Kuha, Jonathan Mellon and Patrick English)

2017                 Political Studies Association Special Recognition Award for the BBC/ITV/Sky    Exit Poll team (with John Curtice, Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher, Stephen Fisher, Jouni Kuha, Jonathan Mellon and Patrick English)

2017                 Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

2015                 Longlisted for the Orwell Prize, for Revolt on the Right

2015                 Political Studies Association Richard Rose Prize - awarded to a younger scholar                          who has made a distinctive contribution to the study of British politics

2015                 Political Book of the Year 2015 from the Political Book Awards for Revolt on the                                         Right

2015                 Shortlisted for the Practical Politics Book of the Year 2015 for Sex, Lies and the                            Ballot Box

2014                 Political Studies Communicator award


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Cathie Marsh Institute
  • Creative Manchester


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