Heather Ondercin

Assistant Professor of Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University

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About Heather

Ondercin's research seeks to advance understanding of how gender and other social identities shape mass political processes on public opinion and party membership and at the elite-level among political candidates and legislators. Motivating her research are questions about social and political identities, experience, and representation in the U.S. political system. Ondercin's teaching focuses on how social and political identities influence and shape the U.S. political system. She teachers classes on gender and U.S. politics, public opinion and political psychology, civic engagement and political participation, and political inequality.


In the News

"Four Things You Need to Know About Women Voters," Heather Ondercin (with Erin Cassese), Gender Watch 2018, October 13, 2018.


"Who's Responsible for the Gender Gap: The Dynamics of Men's and Women's Macropartisanship, 1950-2012" Political Research Quarterly (forthcoming).

Presents evidence that the gender gap in partisanship is a function of changes in both men's and women's partisan attachment to the Democratic party because of the signals sent by the parties regarding the representation of group identities. Discusses how women have become larger and more visible in the Democratic party's congressional delegation compared to the Republican party, women have increased their Democratic partisanship and men have decreased their Democratic partisanship. Shows that men have moved away from the Democratic part at a faster rate than women in response to Southern Realignment.

"Exploring the Gender Gap in Political Knowledge during the 2000 Presidential Campaign" (with James C. Garand and Lauren Crapanzano). Electoral Studies 30, no. 4 (2011): 727-737.

Shows that the difference in men's and women's levels of political knowledge (factual information about politics) decrease over the course of campaigns. Argues that indirect learning occurs in the saturated information environment created by presidential campaigns.

"Public Opinion as Movement Outcome: The Influence of the U.S. Women's Movement on Gender Attitudes" (with Lee Ann Banaszak). Mobilization 21, no. 3 (2016): 361-378.

Discusses that changes in public opinion are an often-overlooked outcome of social movement activity. Demonstrates that contentious activities of the women's movement in the United States lead to long-run changes in the gender attitudes of the country.

"Does Sex Encourage Commitment? The Impact of Candidate Choices on the Time-to-Decision" (with Sarah A. Fulton). Political Behavior 35, no. 4 (2013): 665-686.

Demonstrates that the presence of a female Democratic candidate resulted in voters reaching a decision of who to vote for earlier than in races with two male candidates. Argues that voters use candidate sex as a cue about ideological and non-ideological information about the candidates which results in the faster decisions.