John R. Petrocik John R. Petrocik

Office: 209 Professional Bldg.
Phone: 573-882-2843
CV (pdf)

John R. Petrocik (Professor) joined the Department in 1999 to serve as chair thru 2013. He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of Chicago. His specialty is electoral politics, with particular emphasis on public opinion and voting, and political parties.

Research Statement

Petrocik has authored or coauthored books, articles, and chapters on mass attitudes and behavior, political parties, and elections and campaigns. One of the books, The Changing American Voter (Harvard University Press, 1976, Revised 1979) received the Woodrow Wilson award in 1977 from the American Political Science Association for the best book on American politics in that year. Most recently he completed a coauthored book that examines several popular myths about American voting and public opinion (Unconventional Wisdom, Oxford University Press). A long-standing current project is a book (with a working title of "Issue Ownership in American Presidential Elections") which analyzes the role of candidates in setting the issue criteria with which voters choose among candidates. Generally, the focus of his research has been on the social group dynamics and institutional structures (the character of party alignments, election laws, etc) that moderate and implement expressions of individual opinions and behavior. In recent years he has emphasized the social basis of politics and the influence of social divisions on electoral politics.

Courses Taught

  • Political Parties (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Political Behavior (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Survey Research Methods (Undergraduate)
  • Introductory Statistics for Political Science (Graduate)

Recent Representative Publications

“Religion, Religiosity, and the Moral Divide in Canadian Politics.” 2012. Religion and Politics.

Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths about American Voters. 2008. Oxford University Press.

“Stresses and Strains: ‘Plus ca change’ in the Parties and Voting”. In The Future of the American Conservative Movement, Gillian Peele and Joel Aberbach, Editors. Oxford University Press (2011).

“Was 2008 a Watershed Election? Observing the State of the Parties in the Election Results.” In The State of the Parties, John C. Green, Ed. Rowman and Littlefield (2009).

“Equality and Inclusiveness, Diversity and Conflict”. In The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives ed. by Gary King, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Norman Nie. New York: Routledge (2009).

"Issue Ownership and Presidential Campaigning, 1952-2000." Political Science Quarterly. (Winter 2003-2004).

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