Political Behaviour and Public Opinion


a) Understand the role of public opinion in the current functioning of representative democracies (effects, interactions with political actors, etc.)
b) Understand contemporary trends in political behaviour
c) Develop a general knowledge of the main theories and approaches in this domain
d) Acquire tools for critical assessment and for mastering the fundamentals of this field of study (theories, concepts, methodology and research techniques)
e) Gain ability for critical engagement with the literature (based on selected readings)
f) Develop ability for the application of knowledge to empirical phenomena through (individual or collective) research activities

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language




DALTON, Russell. Citizen politics: public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies Washington: CQ Press, 2008.
DELLA PORTA, Donatella e MATTONI, Alice. Spreading Protest: Social Movements in Times of Crisis, Colchester, ECPR Press, 2014.
FREIRE, André, LISI, Marco e VIEGAS, José Manuel Leite orgs. Crise económicas, políticas de austeridade e representação política. Lisboa: Assembleia da República, 2015.
GUNTHER, Richard, BECK, Allen, MAGALHÃES, Pedro e MORENO, Alejandro. Voting in Old and New Democracies, Londres: Routledge, 2015.
MAYER, Nonna e PERRINEAU, Pascal. Les comportements politiques. Paris, Armand Colin, 1992.
NORRIS, Pippa. Democratic phoenix: reinventing political activism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
PRICE, Vincent. Public Opinion. Londres: Sage, 1992.
ZALLER, John R. The nature and origins of mass opinion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Teaching method

Lectures introducing the major themes of the course (60%), and in-class presentation of selected readings (20%) or classroom discussion of the operationalisation of concepts and the empirical testing of hypotheses and explanatory theories (20%).

Evaluation method

Subject matter

1. Introduction
2. Methods and approaches to the study of public opinion
3. Attitudes and public opinion: origins, formation and change
4. The importance of the context: media and party system
5. Networks, groups and social capital
6. The impact of public opinion: identity, public policies and responsiveness
7. Political participation and democratic theories
8. Political behaviour: theoretical approaches and paradigms
9. Turnout
10. Electoral behaviour
11. Social movements and collective action
12. Contemporary trends in political behaviour


Programs where the course is taught: