Robert Shapiro Headshot

Robert Shapiro

Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs

Robert Shapiro Headshot

International Affairs Building, Room 730

Personal Details

Robert Y. Shapiro is a professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, and he served as acting director of Columbia’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) during 2008–2009. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received a Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award in 2012 and in 2010 the Outstanding Achievement Award of the New York Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NYAAPOR).

Shapiro specializes in American politics with research and teaching interests in public opinion, policymaking, political leadership, the mass media, and applications of statistical methods. He has taught at Columbia since 1982 after receiving his degree and serving as a study director at the National Opinion Research Center (University of Chicago).

He is co-author of The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' Policy Preferences, with Benjamin Page (University of Chicago Press, 1992) and Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness, with Lawrence Jacobs (University of Chicago Press, 2000). His most recent books are The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media, edited with Lawrence R. Jacobs (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Selling Fear: Counterterrorism, the Media, and Public Opinion, with Brigittte L. Nacos and Yaeli Bloch-Elkon (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He is also coauthor or coeditor of several other books and has published numerous articles in major academic journals.

Shapiro served for many years as editor of Public Opinion Quarterly’s "The Polls–Trends" section, and is currently chair of the journal’s Advisory Committee. He also serves on the editorial boards of Political Science Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Critical Review, and is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. He has been President of NYAAPOR and Councilor-at-Large in national AAPOR.

His current research examines partisan polarization and ideological politics in the United States, as well as other topics concerned with public opinion and policymaking.


  • PhD in Political Science, University of Chicago
  • MA in Policy Studies, University of Chicago
  • MA in Political Science, University of Chicago
  • BS in Political Science, MIT

Honors and Awards

  • Vice President, Academy of Political Science
  • Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Communication Research Book Award, 2014
  • Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award, Columbia University, 2012
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, New York Chapter, American Association for Public Opinion Research (NYAAPOR), 2010

Research And Publications

Oct 2017

Oxford Handbook of American Political Development

Robert Shapiro

Joint US-Korea Expert Analysis on the US Presidential Election Series (미대선 한미전문가 공동분석)

Jun 2016

Munhwa Ilbo

Robert Shapiro

James Kim

In The Media

Democratic Resilience

Shang-Jin Wei said that a subsidy war could ultimately help consumers in both countries buy more climate-friendly products, which is an aim of the Biden administration.

Apr 04 2024
Miami Herald

Robert Shapiro said: “These primaries don’t matter for the selection of the presidential candidates.”

Mar 19 2024
Miami Herald

Robert Y. Shapiro said: “To mitigate any losses, Trump should get out the message that a vote for Kennedy would only help Biden.”

Feb 28 2024

Robert Shapiro agrees that Trump’s legal troubles will weigh much more on the general election. 

Feb 16 2024
Washington Examiner
Democratic Resilience

Robert Y. Shapiro, said that recent special elections are providing a "serious jolt" for Republicans ahead of November, specifically regarding their chances of holding a majority in Congress.

Feb 15 2024