Christopher Ojeda is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Merced, where he studies political behavior, public opinion, and inequality. His research examines how social problems, such as poverty and mental illness, shape the way citizens think about and engage with politics, and how politics in turn underpins poverty and mental illness. These problems diminish the voice of citizens and thus pose a challenge to democracy: how can we ensure that citizens have an equal opportunity of being heard by those in power? He is currently writing a book that builds on this research by asking whether politics is making us depressed. Drawing on surveys, election polls, in-depth interviews, Google Trends, and administrative data, Ojeda shows how contemporary political problems—ranging from a weak social safety net to heightened political polarization—contribute to a growing malaise among citizens of advanced Western democracies.
Ojeda holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in government from Christopher Newport University. After receiving his Ph.D., he served as a postdoctoral scholar in the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford University and as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. His research has appeared in academic journals, such as the American Political Science Review and American Sociological Review, as well as popular outlets, such as CNN, PBS, Vox, and more.
This information is accurate for the time period that this person is affiliated with the Ash Center.