Eric R. A. N. Smith

Photo of Professor Smith

Office Hours

Tuesday, 2:00 - 3:00
Wednesday, 1:00 - 3:00

Office Location

Ellison 3711


American Politics, Environmental Politics, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, Congress, Political Parties

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1982

Affilated with the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and the Environmental Studies Program


Eric Smith's research focuses on environmental politics, public opinion, and elections.  In the area of environmental politics, he has been examining public opinion toward offshore oil development, nuclear power, wind power, energy crises, and climate change.  He has also investigated the reasons why the general public often does not trust scientists or scientific findings.  Along with Juliet Carlisle, Jessica Feezell, and Kristy Michaud, he recently published The Politics of Energy Crises (Oxford University Press, 2017).  In the area of public opinion, Smith has investigated problems such as how tolerance for LGBTQ people has changed over time, how both citizens and members of Congress organize their opinions about politics, how people learn about politics, and how their knowledge influences their opinions and their behavior.  In the area of elections, he has investigated problems such as the nature of party realignment, how candidate quality affects voting decisions, and how voters respond to male and female candidates.

Professor Smith is currently working on projects addressing the politics of climate change, public knowledge about sustainability issues, and public support for the death penalty. 

Professor Smith received his Ph.D. in political science from U.C. Berkeley in 1982. After teaching at Brandeis University and Columbia University, he joined the U.C. Santa Barbara Political Science Department in 1986. In 1995-96, he directed U.C. Santa Barbara's Washington Center. He is affiliated with UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Management, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Center for Social Solutions to Environmental Problems.



“Political Consumerism:  Individual Action on Climate Change and Other Environmental Problems” (with Lauren Copeland).  In Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias (ed.), Climate Change Policy and Civic Society, Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, forthcoming.

“Public Reaction to Energy, Overview” (with Heather E. Hodges) Encyclopedia of Energy, forthcoming.

“Persuading the Public to Believe in Science” (with Juliet E. Carlisle, Jessica T. Feezell, Kristy E. H. Michaud, and Leeanna Smith).  People & Science, December 2010, 17.

 “Explaining the Growing Support for Gay and Lesbian Equality since 1990” (with Alison G. Keleher).  Journal of Homosexuality, 59 (2012):1307–1327.

"Public Understanding of and Support for Wind Power in the United States" (with Holly Klick), in Renewable Energy 35 (2010): 1585-1591.

"The Public's Trust in Scientific Claims Regarding Offshore Oil Drilling" (with Juliet E. Carlisle, Jessica T. Feezell, Kristy E. H. Michaud, and Leenna Smith).  Public Understanding of Science 19 (2010): 514-527.

"The Green Case for Offshore Oil."  Washington Post, 2 April 2010, a17.

Dynamics of Democracy, 6th edition (with Peverill Squire, James M. Lindsay, and Cary R. Covington). Thomson, 2010. 

"The Relationship between Cultural Values and Political Ideology, and the Role of Political Knowledge," (with Kristy E. H. Michaud and Juliet E. Carlisle), Political Psychology 30 (2009): 27-42.

"Nimbyism vs. Environmentalism in Energy Development Attitudes" (with Kristy E. H. Michaud and Juliet E. Carlisle). Environmental Politics 17 (2008): 20-39.

"Postmaterialism vs. Egalitarianism as Predictors of Energy-related Attitutes" (with Juliet Carlisle), Environmental Politics 14 (2005): 527-40.

Energy, the Environment, and Public Opinion. Boulder, CO: Roman & Littlefield, 2002.


PS 12

American Government and Politics

PS 151

Voting and Elections

PS 155


PS 175

Environmental Politics

PS 205

Seminar on Measurement and Data Analysis in Political Research

PS 252

Seminar on Public Opinion and Participation

PS 254

Seminar on Congress

PS 294

Seminar on Politics of the Environment