Eric R.A.N. Smith

Eric RAN Smith, Affiliated Professor, Member of PhD Emphasis Affiliate (IEES)

Office Hours

Please e-mail for appointment

Contact Phone

(805) 893-6160

Office Location

Ellison 3711


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

Faculty in Political Science, affiliated with the Environmental Studies and Bren School of Environmental Management


  • 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.


Professor Smith is currently working on two major projects. In the first, he is working with four graduate students in an exploration of the influence of public opinion, business interests, and environmental activists on energy policy during energy crises. In the second project, he is examining the implications of the eventual decline of world oil production (so-called "peak oil") for U.S. energy policy and climate change policy.  In a separate project, he is studying public opinion regarding gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals.


Please click here for a full list of publications or view Smith's Curriculum Vitae.


PS 12: American Government and Politics
PS 151: Voting and Elections
PS 155:Congress
PS 175: Environmental Politics
PS 205: Seminar on Measurement and Data Analysis in Political Research
PS 252:Seminar on Public Opinion and Participation
PS 254: Seminar on Congress
PS 294: Seminar on Politics of the Environment**

**Elective course for IEES