You can find out more about individual members by clicking on their profiles below.

Current Staff

Professor Michael Thrasher

Michael Thrasher Michael Thrasher is Professor of Politics at Plymouth University. His main research interests include voting systems, the decomposition of electoral bias, electoral forecasting and patterns of local election voting. In recent years he has also conducted surveys of local election candidates that have identified the types of people that stand and their motives for standing. Since 1985 he and Colin Rallings have compiled and published the Local Election Handbooks, an annual record of votes cast for each local authority. Over this period he has compiled and analysed the results of almost ten thousand local council by-elections, most recently for LGA’s First magazine. He and Rallings have contributed articles to the national press, providing electoral analysis for The Sunday Times since 1986. In 1989 he joined Sky News as the broadcaster's elections analyst, assisting with coverage on general, local, mayoral  and European parliamentary elections, a number of by-election specials as well as a variety of referendums, elections for the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  A short compilation of Sky News' 2015 general election broadcast is here.

Professor Colin Rallings

    Colin Rallings photo 3 Colin Rallings is Professor of Politics at Plymouth University.  Co-founder of the Elections Centre his current research interests include split-ticket voting, voting behaviour in local government elections and factors affecting electoral participation.  Beginning with the parliamentary constituency boundary changes introduced prior to the 1997 general election he has constructed the notional results which re-cast the previous election result on the new boundaries for a consortium of broadcast organisations and the Press Association.  He is also, with Michael Thrasher, the compiler of British Electoral Facts 1832-2012 (Biteback publishing) as well as the annual Local Elections Handbook.  Previously, he has served as Secretary of the Political Studies Association, joint chair of the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties sub-group and a member of various ESRC committees.  He is currently on the management board of the British Polling Council. A contributor to a range of national newspapers, including The Sunday Times, The Sun and Daily Mail he is a also ITV News' principal election analyst, most recently broadcasting on the 2015 general election. Watch Colin Rallings report on the 2015 exit poll forecast on ITV news here General Election 2015

Dr Galina Borisyuk

galinaborisyuk     Dr Galina Borisyuk is Lecturer in Advanced Quantitative Methods at Plymouth University and a graduate of Moscow State University in Mathematics, Probability Theory and Statistics.  Her current research interests include the development of new methods for measuring and decomposing electoral bias in a three-party system, electoral forecasting using aggregate local electoral data and various aspects of local election voting in Britain.  This latter research has produced a series of papers examining the relationship between candidate characteristics (for example, surname and subsequent location on the ballot paper, ethnic origin of forename and surname, electoral experience) and support from voters.

Brian Cheal

brianchealBrian Cheal is Senior Officer Data Administration in the Elections Centre.  He holds a Master's degree in Social Research and has worked on a wide range of projections within the Centre almost since its inception.  A long-time member of the Association of Electoral Administrators his primary responsibilities currently lie with planning and preparation for each annual round of local elections and following polling day itself liaising with local election officers to ensure that a full record of voting is obtained by the Centre.

Dr Mary Shears

mary shearsDr Mary Shears is a Research Fellow in The Elections Centre, where she is Project Manager for the Local Election Candidates Survey.  She undertook the first national survey of local election candidates in 2006 and has been involved in the planning, development, oversight and implementation of all subsequent surveys.  Although interested in all aspects of the recruitment of candidates to stand for local election her main research interests lie with the particular problems facing the recruitment and retention of women candidates.  This issue was the topic for her doctoral dissertation and she has pursued this research over recent years by publishing a number of reports and research papers and providing talks to a variety of organisations on ways and means for encouraging more women to stand for and be elected to local government.

Dr Michael Turner

Michael Turner_ID2 Dr Michael Turner is currently Research Director at BMG Research and a Research Fellow of the Elections Centre where he completed his doctoral dissertation in 2013.  This examined the effect of incumbency upon electoral support for local councillors in Britain.  He is a member of both the Political Studies Association (PSA) and the Elections, Public Opinion & Parties (EPOP) specialist group and has presented his research at annual conferences of both organisations. Before joining BMG Michael Turner held positions as Director of Political & Social Research at Survation, and before that as Assistant Methodologist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) . Michael is also a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) where he is Secretary of the Official Statistics Section and is a Certified Member of the Market Research Society (MRS).  He is currently working with the Centre in its examination of split-ticket voting at the 2015 general election as well as providing specialist talks to undergraduate students at Plymouth University.