Elizabeth Theiss-Morse

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse

Willa Cather Professor
of Political Science

At A Glance


536 Oldfather Hall


I love all aspects of political psychology. What motivates people to act and think as they do? What role do emotions play in people's reactions? Why do groups have such powerful effects on individuals? My research has specifically examined public opinion concerning various aspects of democracy, including support for civil liberties, Congress, democratic processes, and the American people as a national group. Digging underneath what people say to get at what they really mean is just plain fun.

When I am not working, I love spending time with my family, reading good literature, cooking, playing tennis, swimming, listening to jazz, and taking my dog on walks.


Research Areas

Public opinion, political psychology, and political behavior

Current Research

  • Cooperation and group norms (with Carly Jacobs and Eric Whitaker)
  • Religion and national identity (with Carly Jacobs) 
  • The rhetoric of vilification (with Dona-Gene Mitchell and Michael W. Wagner)
  • Political trust (with Dana Griffin)



  • Who Counts as an American? The Boundaries of National Identity (2009), winner of the Robert Lane Award for the best book on political psychology
  • Stealth Democracy (2002), coauthored with John Hibbing and named an "Outstanding Academic Title" by Choice magazine
  • Congress as Public Enemy (1995), co-authored with John Hibbing and winner of the Fenno Prize for the best book on legislative politics
  • With Malice Toward Some (1995), co-authored with George Marcus, John Sullivan, and Sandra Wood and winner of the Best Book in Political Psychology award

Career Highlights

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1989


In The News


Recent Articles

Jacobs and Theiss-Morse, "Belonging in a 'Christian Nation,'" Politics and Religion 6 (2013), 373–401 © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, 2013

Surveys and Datasets