Croweded Buchanan street

Centre for Elections & Representation Studies

Centre for Elections and Representation Studies (CERS) brings together the many scholars within the School of Government and Public Policy with an interest and expertise in studying empirically how elections and democracy actually work. It has expertise in voting behaviour, electoral systems, social and political attitudes, political parties and parliaments. Many of its members also have considerable experience and expertise in undertaking social surveys.

The centre is primarily interested in the 'mature' democracies of Europe, North America and Australasia, with particular expertise in the United States and Germany as well as the United Kingdom.

CERS has a particular interest in the impact of devolution on Scottish politics. The ESRC funded 2011 Scottish Election study was based at the Centre for Elections and Representation Studies.

The members of the centre are:

Topics

The centre’s research focuses on three areas:

  1. Public attitudes and behaviour.
    Recent examples include:
    • Voting behaviour in devolved elections
    • Public attitudes towards representation
    • Use of candidate images on ballot papers
    • Public trust in Scottish political institutions
  2. Political Parties
    Recent examples include:
    • Survey of SNP members
    • Green parties in Europe
    • Public perceptions of parties
  3. Legislatures and their members
    Recent examples include:
    • Legislative behaviour in the Scottish Parliament
    • Public petitions in the Scottish Parliament
    • Operation of the European parliament Funding has been ontained from a variety of bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the Nuffield Foundation.

Funding has been ontained from a variety of bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the Nuffield Foundation.

Scope

Following the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the centre has a particular interest in the impact of devolution and multi-level politics on public attitudes and the political process in Scotland. But the interests of its members extend well beyond Scotland’s borders.

They include politics in the United Kingdom as a whole, the experience of the USA and Germany, and the conduct of systematic comparative research across multiple countries. Much of the research undertaken in the centre is conducted using quantitative surveys, in whose conduct and analysis its members are particularly expert.

The centre has a commitment to being involved in policy and public debate. For example, members of the centre submitted evidence to the official inquiry into the high incidence of invalid votes in the 2007 Scottish Election and recently gave evidence to a House of Commons select committee inquiry into the operation of devolution. Individual members also appear frequently in the print and broadcast media.