Political Communication

Examine the production, dissemination, processing, and effects of information on political processes...


Political communication research explores the production, dissemination, processing, and effects of information, delivered interpersonally, online and through traditional media. Under this overarching interest, we examine how political realities are constructed in news, campaigns, and user-generated content and how interpersonal communication, online social networks, and also mass and digital media influence citizens’ cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors. We use a variety of quantitative research methods including survey, experiment, content analysis, and data science approaches such as computational and “big data” analytics.  


Communication Faculty: Jaeho Cho, Magdalena Wojcieszak

Affiliated Faculty: Amber Boydstun and Robert Huckfeldt (Political Science)

Ongoing Research Programs

  • Effects of political expression on the expresser (self effects)
  • Political discussion networks and opinion polarization
  • Effects of search engine use on opinion formation
  • Impact of message types on citizens’ political opinions and attitudes toward social groups
  • Strategies to minimize selective exposure and biased information processing
  • Effects of individual (e.g., existing attitudes, political knowledge) and contextual factors (e.g., visual and verbal cues in media content) on content selection

Relevant Courses

CMN 220: Persuasion Theories 
CMN 251: Digital Technology and Social Change 
CMN 254: Communication Campaigns
CMN 260: Political Communication
POL 261: Political Behavior
POL 279: Political Networks: Methods and Applications
POL 290A: Research in American Government and Public Policy
POL 290E: Research in Political Parties, Politics, and Political Behavior

"What can I do with this?"

Possible career options for students who specialize in political communication include faculty positions in academia, data analysts in industry, or consultants for think-tanks, advocacy groups, or public opinion polling organizations. Students can also pursue careers as political consultants, communications advisors or directors for electoral candidates, political parties, governmental and non-governmental organizations at the local, national or international level.


"I have been at UC Davis for nearly three years now and I have had an amazing time working with different members of the faculty on different political communication research studies. I am more confident about planning and leading my own research projects, and I've learned more about the political contexts in countries which I was formerly less informed about. If you find politics and the media exciting and you would like to get an academic perspective on the subject, come to UC Davis and be a part of the political communication in-house family!"

Saifuddin Ahmed 
Class of 2018