Dr. DOWNES James Floyd Department of Government and Public Administration - CUHK


Dr. Downes James Floyd


Lecturer in Comparative Politics
BA (Hons) MA (Government, Essex) PhD (Kent) AFHEA


James F. Downes is an early career researcher and researches comparative party politics on issues such as immigration and political behaviour (elections and voting; the ‘rise’ of populism) in contemporary European politics, primarily through the use of quantitative methods such as expert led party surveys and public opinion surveys. His research has appeared in top political science journals such as Electoral Studies, in edited book volumes such as Routledge, the Contemporary China Series, Democratic Audit and for the London School of Economics and Political Science European Politics and Policy. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. From November 2018, he will serve as a Council Member at the Hong Kong Political Science Association.

He has had extensive Quantitative Methods Training at the University of Oxford, the Department of Government at the University of Essex, alongside the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis. In addition, he was awarded a 50th Anniversary Research Scholarship during his PhD in Comparative European Politics at the University of Kent (2013-2017) that he recently completed. He also provides Data Advice and analysis for the Local Democracy Dashboard, a ‘big data’ British Politics project that is based at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In addition, he served as Director of British & European Politics (Honorary) at the London based Think Tank Parliament Street and also writes regular pieces on elections, voting and public opinion for the Europe Asia Policy Centre for Comparative Research. He has also provided recent media commentary on issues that relate to elections and voting for a number of international media outlets, such as CNBC Asia, the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Ming Pao, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, France 24, Kantar Public Brussels and Sputnik TV (Russian TV).

Please visit his personal website at https://jamesfdownes.com for further information about his research.

Publications Grants/Awards Services
Downes GPA Photo
  T: (852) 3943-7480
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: 323. T.C. Cheng Building
  Teaching  Interests:

Downes places a strong emphasis on applied teaching and this is embodied in his strong teaching evaluation scores. Downes is also committed to offering a broad range of courses for students that are particularly relevant in preparing students for the global workplace and in stimulating discussion. Downes will teach the following courses in the Department of Government and Public Administration: Fundamentals of Government, Governance of the European Union, Asian Comparative Politics, alongside Quantitative Research Methods.

  Research Interests:
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Ideology: Populism in the 21st century
  • Decline of Social Democracy in Europe
  • Migration Policy in Hong Kong
  • Democratization (East Asia)

2018. (with Matthew Loveless). “Centre Right and Radical Right Party Competition in Europe: Strategic Emphasis on Immigration, Anti-Incumbency, and Economic Crisis” Electoral Studies, 54: pp. 148-158. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2018.05.008

2018. "Why have the Populist Radical Right outperformed the Populist Radical Left in Europe?" (with Valerio A. Bruno) Forthcoming in LSE EUROPP.

2018. (with Edward Chan). “The Electoral Decline of Social Democratic Parties and the 'Rise' of the Radical Right in Europe during the Refugee Crisis.” Democratic Audit, LSE

2018. “Centre Right and Radical Right Party Competition on Immigration in the Context of the 2015-2018 European Refugee Crisis. Working Paper” (To be sent to Party Politics).

2018. “Why the Radical Right are better at "capitalizing" on Populism than the Radical Left? “(with Valerio A. Bruno) Forthcoming in Public Seminar, New York.

2018. “Understanding the ‘rise’ of the radical left in Europe: it’s not just the economy, stupidDemocratic Audit, LSE.

2018. Winning back votes from the far right: does the centre right’s focus on immigration pay off? LSE British Politics and Policy

2018. Do centre-right parties win back votes from the far right by talking about immigration? LSE EUROPP, European Politics and Policy

2017. 'A New Electoral Winning Formula?' Beyond the Populist Radical Right: Center Right Party Electoral Success, 'Strategic Emphasis' and Incumbency Effects on Immigration in the 21st Century.’ Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Thesis, University of Kent

2017. "A New Form of Politics: Brexit, The Campaign War and the Importance of the Immigration Issue.” True Blue: A Parliament Street Book (with Chris Hanley) (Ed: Patrick J. Sullivan, Najjar, Nabil, H.) Delta Strategies Limited, Parliament Street

2016. (with Matthew Loveless) “The 2008-2013 Economic Crisis in Europe: Extreme Right-Wing and Center Right Party Competition on the Salience of Immigration.” European Union Academic Programme Hong Kong (Working Paper Series).

2016. “Playing the Immigration Card? Extreme Right-Wing Party Strategy during the 2008-2013 Economic Crisis in Europe.” European Union Academic Programme Hong Kong (Working Paper Series).

2018. The Electoral Decline of Social Democratic Parties in 21st Century Europe. LSE Europe, European Politics and Policy and Social Europe

2018. (with Liang Jiang). "Why Do Voters Lose Trust in Governments? Explaining the Decline of Political Trust in Australian Politics from 2007-2016." Working Paper/presented at the 25th World Congress of Political Science, IPSA, Brisbane (Australia): 21-25 July 2018.

2018. "What factors explain the rise of Localism in Hong Kong?" Working Paper/in progress

2017. "Mainland Chinese Immigration in Hong Kong: Analyzing anti-immigrant sentiment." In: Lam, Wai-man and Luke Cooper. ‘Citizenship, Identity, and Social Movements in the New Hong Kong.’ Routledge Contemporary China Series

Published recent election reports and articles in the Europe Asia Policy Centre for Comparative Research

2018. Public Opinion: The EU’s Handling of the Refugee Crisis

2018. The Hungarian 2018 National Parliamentary Election: The ‘Rise’ of Illiberal Democracy

2017. The Rise of Populism in Europe

2017. The French 2017 Presidential Election

2017. The Dutch 2017 National Parliamentary Election

2017. The Italian 2017 National Parliamentary Election

He has also written recent articles for the Hong Kong Economic Journal and Ming Pao on the 2017 German Election and nationalism in Catalonia. These articles can be found below:

2017. 德選民掌握歐洲命運 “The 2017 German Federal Election. The Hong Kong Economic Journal (EJ Global Plus).

2017. 什麼人訪問什麼人﹕加泰隆尼亞獨立運動 困境與啟示 “The Catalan Independence Movement.” Ming Pao.


2016 School of Politics & International Relations PhD Completion Fund, University of Kent (£800)

2015 Faculty of Social Sciences Grant, University of Kent (£3000)

2015 British Academy/ESRC Grants (School of Politics & International Relations) University of Kent (£3500)

2013-2016 50th Anniversary PhD Scholarship (University of Kent) (£55,000)

Affiliated Member – Lee Woo Sing College, CUHK (January 2018- Present).

Member, Admission and Publicity Committee, Department of Government and Public Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Sept 2017-).