Parties Parliaments and Public Opinion

The 3PO cluster brings together researchers working on themes related to political parties, political participation, public opinion and attitudes, and related areas.

University of Leicester’s Parties, Parliaments and Public Opinion (3PO) research cluster brings together scholars from the fields of comparative and British politics. The team has particular strengths in the analysis of public opinion on a range of topics including: European integration, immigration, foreign affairs, and environmental issues. Team members also work on the topics of Euroscepticism, and religion and politics, with further strengths in the study of political parties, legislatures – including the UK and European parliaments –public policy and Brexit and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland.

Cluster Members

Cluster activities

3PO organises a series of activities to support team research projects. We host academic and practitioner lectures and seminars, inviting speakers whose research or job role is of particular importance to team members. 3PO emphasises research-led teaching, and our external guests are also invited to provide further insights on research-led topics that we are teaching our students.

In addition, 3PO organises ‘read-and-review’ workshops for team members and PGRs. In these workshops cluster members provide informal feedback to one another on written work such as draft papers and grant proposals before these are submitted for review to journals or funding agencies.

Ongoing projects

Parties, Parliaments, and the Brexit Process: This study, funded by two awards from the Economic and Social Research Council (with Adam Cygan and Philip Lynch) totalling £348,911, focuses on how the Brexit vote has affected UK party politics, how Parliament has responded to Brexit in terms of its structures and procedures and attempts to identify those areas of policy that have been most subject to conflict between and within parties and are most likely to change once the UK has left the EU.

MEPs in the 2014-19 European Parliament: The rise of Euroscepticism?: This study by Rick Whitaker (PI) and Simon Hix of the London School of Economics (Co-I), funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£56,399), conducts a cross-time survey of Members of the European Parliament and includes questions about MEPs attitudes to European integration, whether the UK should leave the EU, and positions on various policy areas, including the powers of the  European Parliament, economic and monetary union and immigration.

Religion and Politics: Clements is currently leading an AHRC-funded project (£170,228, Professor Stephen Bullivant, St Mary’s University, co-investigator) involving a new survey of Catholic adults living in Britain. This project will provide an in-depth analysis of a range of topics, including personal faith and beliefs, religious practice and preferences, and social and political attitudes. Further information, findings and other resources are available from the project website.

Understanding Public Opinion on Immigration: Past research by 3PO team member McLaren showed that public concern about immigration in the UK and other European countries was contributing to distrust in national political systems. Current projects in this area have shifted the attention to understanding the public concern about immigration itself, focusing on (a) the impact of the mass media and (b) systematic generational differences in immigration opinions.