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About Matt Lesenyie


I am Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach. I am expert in voter behavior, campaign strategy, state and local politics, and campaign finance reform. Having lived in Sacramento, Alameda, Orange, LA, and San Diego counties I regularly appear in regional news coverage of local politics.


My current portfolio of research projects looks at: (1) the effects of campaign finance disclosures in advertisements; (2) Californian's opinions about prison conditions; (3) Californian's attitudes toward firefighters and government services.

n 2019, I completed a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Political Science at Santa Clara University. The following are some highlights from that fellowship:

1. A research grant to study voters in the 2018 election.

2. Development of an instrument to measure attitudes toward political ads and campaign finance disclosures.

3. Extensive pedagogical training from the Association of College and University Educators culminating in a certification in Effective Teaching Practices.

4. Service including reviewer for Interest Group Politics (10th ed.), chairing conference panels, local newscast apearances, presenter at numerous university programs for LEAD Scholars (1st generation students) and Global Engagement (International Students).

My dissertation examined the informational cues voters receive from campaign finance disclosures in advertisements.  This research nexus is important for the study of politics, specifically how campaigns chose to target their messages and how that effects voter decision making. In 2019, my work was published in American Politics Research ( Recently, I developed an instrument to measure attitudes towards advertisements and disclosures. I found that disclosure attitudes are not correlated with learning styles, need for cognition, or tolerance for ambiguity. These finding have implications for political advertising reforms in broadcast and social media.

Post-college I worked in Governor Schwarzenegger's Office of Constituent Affairs & the Office of Planning and Research.  I held a year long fellowship in the Office of the State Assembly Chief Clerk where, per Engrossing and Enrolling guidelines, I amended legislation by hand with red and blue pencils.  I also spent four years at Nielsen Merksamer, the top grossing lobbying firm in California. At NM, I worked on proposition campaigns, led the firm's fundraising program, and worked hundreds of bills.

I've been preparing for a career teaching political science for nearly a decade. My practical experience has sharpened the questions I ask, heightened my passion and enthusiasm for the topic, and sustained the confidence I have in our political systems. Primarily, I'm a researcher who is passionate about educating efficacious young citizens. Serving the university community is important too, so I keep a busy schedule with mentorship, administrative and graduate service commitments. 

See my CV, awards, media, and university service pages for more details.

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