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Stephen P. Nicholson

Assistant Professor Stephen Nicholson

Associate Professor

Cognitive Science (affiliate faculty)

School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Rd.
Merced, CA 95343

T: (209) 228-4036
E: snicholson [at] ucmerced [dot] edu

Curriculum Vita (PDF) | Website

Research Interests

  • American politics
  • Political behavior
  • Political psychology
  • Direct democracy

Nicholson studies American politics, with a focus on mass political behavior and political psychology. Nicholson's book, Voting the Agenda: Candidates, Elections, and Ballot Propositions published in 2005 by Princeton University Press, looks at how ballot measures can shape the agenda in candidate elections. His current research projects focus on the role of cues in public opinion, the psychology of political categories, and partisan motivated reasoning. In addition, Nicholson is working on an NSF funded project about voting and direct democracy in the 2012 elections.

Nicholson is the recipient of the E.E. Schattschneider Award for the Best dissertation in American politics given by the American Political Science Association and the 2006 Emerging Scholar Award given by the American Political Science Association's organized section on Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior. His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Cognitive Science, British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, and PS: Political Science & Politics.  


  • Ph.D., Political Science, 1998, University of California, Davis
  • B.A., Political Science, 1989, University of California, Los Angeles