GV4A2      Half Unit
Citizens' Political Behaviour in Europe: Elections Public Opinion and Identities

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Bruter


This course is available on the MRes Political Science, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Political Science and Political Economy, MSc in Politics and Communication, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 2 groups. The deadline for enrolments will be 12 noon, on Monday, 3 October 2016. Note that students from Masters or Doctoral programmes not listed above may still take the course subject to approval by the course convener. You will be informed of the outcome by 12 noon, Wednesday, 5 October 2016. 


In order to be accepted on the course, all students must submit a research project idea by Friday 7 October 2016. The document should be around 1-2 pages in length and should at least do two things: first, indicating a course-related research topic and a specific research question and explain what makes it interesting, and second suggesting the methodology the student intends to use to answer this question empirically. You may, but not obliged to include references from existing literature (which would be a good thing to do), please also include a mini-bibliography.

Course content

This course intends to familiarise students with the study of electoral psychology and political behaviour in Europe in a broad sense. The three main objects of study in political science are institutions, policies, and citizens, and the study of political behaviour and political psychology is the field that centres on the third. A very important part of political behaviour is electoral participation and vote choice. We will explore general models of voting behaviour, electoral psychology, and participation, as well as specific aspects such as extremist politics. We will look closely at public opinion, how it is formed and how it can be studied. In the final part of the course, special consideration is given to political identities and how they are related to political behaviour.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Indicative reading

Bruter, M. 2005 Citizens of Europe? Basingstoke: Palgrave.

LeDuc, L, Niemi, R, and Norris, P. 2010. Comparing Democracies 3: Elections and Voting in the 21st Century. London: Sage.

Van der Eijk, C, and Franklin, M. 2009. Elections and Voters. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Franklin, Mackie, et al. 1992. Electoral Change. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Bruter, M. and Harrison, S. 2009. The Future of our Democracies? Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Zaller, J. 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harrison, S. and Bruter, M. Mapping Extreme Right Ideology. Basingstoke: Palgrave.


Project (80%, 5000 words) and class participation (20%) in the ST.

One empirical research project on a topic relevant to the course and approved by the course co-ordinator with a word limit of 5,000 words (80%).

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 39
Merit 51.2
Pass 9.8
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills