The American campaign: U.S. presidential campaigns and the by James E. Campbell

By James E. Campbell

Reporting information and predicting developments in the course of the 2008 crusade, this classroom-tested quantity bargains back James E. Campbell's "theory of the predictable campaign," incorporating the basic stipulations that systematically have an effect on the presidential vote: political pageant, presidential incumbency, and election-year financial stipulations. Campbell's cogent considering and transparent type current scholars with a readable survey of presidential elections and political scientists' methods of learning them. the yankee crusade additionally indicates how and why newshounds have mistakenly assigned a trend of unpredictability and significant value to the vagaries of person campaigns.

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Sample text

Several scholars voiced the opinion that election forecasting was not the business of political science. In their view, political science is the business of explaining and not predicting politics. This view seemed both overly narrow to me and dismissive of the potential value of forecasting for the explanation of elections and campaigns. In this regard, I was heartened and intrigued by the research of Andrew Gelman Page xvi and Gary King, who attempted to explain why presidential elections could be forecast so accurately while the pre-election polls remained so volatile.


9 Subsequent studies (Asher 1992; Holbrook 1996a) have confirmed the prevalence of early vote decisions. 2 presents the distribution of self-reported times of the vote decision for voters in the American National Election Studies (NES) surveys since 1952. These data indicate that most voters make up their minds quite early in the election year. 10 In most years, roughly another fifth indicate that they decided after the conventions. As few as one in ten and no more than one in four voters said that they made their vote decisions in the last weeks of the campaign or on election day.

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