Mark A. Smith did his undergraduate work at M.I.T. and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in before joining the faculty at the University of Washington. As Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion and Communication, he teaches courses on political parties, research methods, American political culture, and religion in American politics.

Smith is the author most recently of Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics. Despite what one might expect from common understandings of a “culture war,” the book argues that religious and secular Americans typically converge on similar moral and political stances. Previously Smith wrote The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society. The book examined the role of economic issues and rhetoric in the conservative ascendancy in recent decades. Smith’s first book, American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy, won the Leon Epstein Award from the Political Organizations and Parties section of the American Political Science Association.