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