Eric R.A.N. Smith

Political Science

Office Location

Ellison Hall 3711


Environmental Politics, Energy Issues, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, Congress, and Political Parties


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley 


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 also affiliated with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and the Environmental Studies Program at UCSB. Professor 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 recently finished a book about public opinion on energy and environmental issues, Energy, the Environment, and Public Opinion.

In the area of public opinion, he has investigated problems such as 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.