Professor Charles Pattie

Department of Politics and International Relations

Professor of Politics

Profile image for academic staff member Charles Pattie
Profile picture of Profile image for academic staff member Charles Pattie
+44 114 222 0669

Full contact details

Professor Charles Pattie
Department of Politics and International Relations
Modular Teaching Village
Northumberland Road
S10 1AJ

Charles joined the department in 2016 as a Professor. He trained as a geographer (gaining both his undergraduate a degree and PhD in the subject), and prior to joining the department, taught political geography as a lecturer at the University of Nottingham (1989-1994), then at the University of Sheffield as a senior lecturer (1994), reader (1999) and professor (2000).

His research focuses on elections and voting, with particular emphasis on the role of context in voters' and parties' decision-making. He has published widely on electoral systems, political campaigning, economic voting, the neighbourhood effect, and political participation.

Research interests

My main research focuses on elections, voting and political behaviour. There are three main strands of work within this:

1. Contextual effects and voting. Most electoral research implicitly treats voters as isolated individuals. But we all live in complex social networks and environments, which can influence our political views and decisions. Work in this strand looks at the influence of context on voter's behaviour and attitudes. How are voters influenced by what goes on around them? We have looked at (for instance) the effect of: local political contexts; local economic contexts; and the views and opinions of voters' friends and relations.

2. Election campaigning. Election campaigns are fought not only nationally but also locally, in individual constituencies and electoral districts. Our research has shown that these local battles do matter and can affect the overall outcome of an election. Parties increasingly target their efforts on key seats and on key voters within those seats, looking to mobilise supporters rather than persuade the otherwise unconvinced.

3. Electoral systems. Elections are not simply 'about' amassing more votes. The operation of the electoral system can have a material effect on the actual outcome. We look in particular at two aspects of electoral systems: i) the extent to which the electoral system is systematically biased in favour of some parties and against others; and ii) the politics of electoral redistricting - the process by which constituency and electoral district boundaries are periodically redrawn to adapt to population change.

Research group

I supervise PhDs in public opinion, political participation and electoral behaviour.

Teaching activities

My teaching has focused largely on electoral behaviour, contextual effects in politics, and quantitative methods for social scientists. In all my teaching, from first year undergraduate lectures to postgraduate seminars, I try help students develop their own analytical and critical skills, through a combination of discussion and hands-on analysis. I currently teach on two modules:

POL3100: Explaining Politics
POL6255: Research Methods

Supervision Expertise
  • Elections and voting
  • Political participation
  • Public opinion/political attitudes
  • Quantitative political science