Eric R. A. N. Smith

Professor Emeritus

Office Hours

Zoom Link on GauchoSpace
Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 via Zoom
Thursdays 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM in person
By Appointment

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 explored 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, public support for the death penalty, 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 and the Environmental Studies Program.



“Racial Exclusion and Death Penalty Juries: Can Death Penalty Juries Ever Be Representative?” (with Noelle Nasif and Shyam Sriram).  Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, 27: 147-166, 2018.

“Early Election Forecast:  Republicans Could Lose 38 Seats and House Majority.” Washington Post, 10 January 2018. []

“Delivering Energy (Often) Requires Public Consent” (with Heather E. Hodges, Colin Kuehl, and Aaron Sparks).  In Raphael Heffron and Gavin Little (ed.), Delivering Energy Law and Policy in the EU and the US: A Reader, Edinburgh, Scotland: University of Edinburgh Press, 2016.

“Economic Performance and Presidential Trait Evaluations” (Lisa Argyle, Marcus Arrajj, Skylar Covich, E.G. Garay, Julian Gottlieb, Heather Hodges, and Eric Smith).  Electoral Studies, 43: 52-62, 2016.

“Michael Brune’s Misleading Optimism on Climate Change.”  Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 57(2): 22-27, 12 February 2015.

“The Influence of Environmentalism on Attitudes toward Local Agriculture and Urban Expansion” (with David E. Cleveland, Lauren Copeland, Garrett Glasgow, and Michael V. McGinnis).  Society & Natural Resources, 29: 88-103, 2015.

“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, 2014, 197-217.

“Public Reaction to Energy, Overview” (with Heather E. Hodges). Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Elsevier, 2013.

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

“Public Understanding of and Support for Wind Power in the United States” (with Holly Klick). Renewable Energy, 35: 1585-91, 2010.

“Think Again: Offshore Drilling.” Foreign Policy, published online, [] 30 August 2010.

"The Public's Trust in Scientific Claims Regarding Offshore Oil Drilling" (with Juliet E. Carlisle, Jessica T. Feezell, Kristy E. H. Michaud, and Leeanna Smith). Public Understanding of Science, 19: 514-27, 2010.

The Central Coast Survey (with David Cleveland, Paolo Gardinali, Michael McGinnis, John Mohr, Megan Carney, and Lauren Copeland).  Social Science Survey Center/Benton Survey Research Lab, UCSB Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research,, 2010.

“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.



PS 12

American Government and Politics

PS 151

Voting and Elections

PS 155


PS 175

Environmental Politics

PS 252

Seminar on Public Opinion and Participation

PS 254

Seminar on Congress

PS 294

Seminar on Politics of the Environment

PS 295 Seminar on Psychology and Environmental Public Policy (PEPP)