Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Eric Merkley is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. He received his PhD in political science at the University of British Columbia.
His research broadly focuses on the relationships between elite behaviour, news media, and public opinion, especially as they relate to issues of expert or scientific consensus.
Merkley was previously a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. He was also the lead survey analyst of the Media Ecosystem Observatory, an interdisciplinary research team that monitored Canadian public opinion and information ecosystem health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is currently working on a book project on political polarization in Canada. In this project he demonstrates that the left-right ideological polarization of Canada’s major political parties triggered sorting in the mass public where partisan identities and ideology became increasingly intertwined. This, in turn, produced affective polarization, where supporters of the Liberal and NDP parties increasingly dislike Conservative Party supporters and vice versa.
His work has been published in journals such as the Nature Human Behaviour, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Political Communication.