Professor Lelkes’s main focus is on the role of the political information environment in structuring attitudes, with a special interest in the proliferation of digital media. For instance, he has written on affective polarization, or the increasing hostility between Democrats and Republicans, and ways in which the media has contributed to interparty animosity. Another recent project examines ways in higher quality internet has changed citizen engagement, showing that citizens are learning more about politics, but not necessarily participating because of it. Additionally, he has written extensively on the structure of political ideology and identities. In his research, Lelkes relies on a variety of quantitative methods, including survey, field, and natural experiments, as well as survey and geospatial data.
Before joining the University of Pennsylvania, he was faculty at the Amsterdam School of Communication. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals across disciplines, including the American Journal of Political Science, PNAS, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Experimental Political Science, Political Psychology, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Lelkes is a faculty affiliate at the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics and a fellow at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research. He also holds a secondary appointment in the Penn Political Science department.