• Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
  • M.P.I.A., University of California – San Diego
  • B.S., Georgetown University


  • American National Government
  • Research Methods
  • Policy Formulation and Implementation
  • U.S. Congress
  • Leadership and Organizational Culture
  • Campaigns and Elections
  • Public Opinion and Political Behavior
  • Political Parties
  • The Presidency
  • Political Violence and Terrorism
  • The Politics of Soccer


Joe Gershtenson, Ph.D., came to St. Mary’s after teaching at Eastern Kentucky University for 16 years. Having done his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and his doctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin, Gershtenson was thrilled to return to Texas and join the faculty at a Catholic liberal arts institution.

Gershtenson conducts research on American politics, including public opinion and elections. Observing contemporary American politics, Gershtenson has concerns about the content and tone of political debate and the seemingly rapid rise in incivility. He hopes that St. Mary’s students embrace their education for service and community good to be forces for positive change in our political realm.


“In Government We Distrust: Citizen Skepticism and Democracy in the United States” (with Dennis L. Plane). The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, 13 (3): 481-505 (2015).

“Kentucky Senate Race (Alison Lundergan Grimes v.Mitch McConnell): Insert Name Here (Republican)v. President Barack Obama (Democrat).” In Sean D. Foreman and Robert Dewhirst, eds., The Roads to Congress 2014, pp. 303-319. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (2015).

“Strader v. Graham.” In Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin, eds., The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, p. 486. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky (2015).

“Registering to Vote is Easy, Right? Active Learning and Attitudes about Voter Registration” (with Dennis L. Plane, Joshua M. Scacco, and Jerry Thomas). Journal of Political Science Education, 9: 379-402 (2013).

“Political Trust and the Health of Democracy in the United States: Rethinking Traditional Measures and Interpretations” (with Jeffrey Ladewig and Dennis L. Plane). Revista Mexicana de Análisis Político y Administración Pública, 2: 111-129 (2013).

“An Alternate Measure of Political Trust: Reconciling Theory and Practice.” In John Aldrich and Kathleen McGraw, eds., Improving Public Opinion Surveys: Interdisciplinary Innovation and the American National Election Studies, pp. 117-136. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (2012).

“Creating Better Citizens? Effects of a Model Citizens’ Assembly on Student Political Attitudes and Behavior” (with Glenn W. Rainey, Jr., and Jane G. Rainey). Journal of Political Science Education, 6: 95-116 (April-June 2010).

“Kentucky.” In Donald P. Haider-Markel (General ed.), Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions (Vol. 1, pp. 221-231). Washington, DC: CQ Press (2009).

“Candidates and Competition: Variability in Ideological Voting in U.S. Senate Elections.” Social Science Quarterly, 90: 117-133 (March 2009).

“Political Engagement, Attitude Formation, and Extremitization in the 2004 Presidential Election” (with Dennis L. Plane). The American Review of Politics, 29: 19-47. Spring & Summer (2008).

“Ideology and Representation in the U.S. Senate: Roll Calls v. Constituent Assessments”
(with Dennis L. Plane). The Journal of Legislative Studies, 13: 558-576 (December 2007).

“Primaries, Parties, and Candidate Positioning in U.S. Senate Elections.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 17: 165-179 (July 2007).

“Election Cycles and Partisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1857-2000.” Politics and Policy, 34: 690-705 (December 2006).

“Parties, Institutional Control, and Trust in Government” (with Jeffrey Ladewig and Dennis L. Plane). Social Science Quarterly, 87: 882-902 (December 2006).

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