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On the Road to the White House: Information Resources on Presidential Nomination. John Hernandez Politics & U.S. Documents Librarian February 25, 2004. On the Show This Morning…. Background on Presidential Nomination Information Resources (Current & Historical)

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On the road to the white house information resources on presidential nomination l.jpg

On the Road to the White House:Information Resources on Presidential Nomination

John Hernandez

Politics & U.S. Documents Librarian

February 25, 2004


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On the Show This Morning…

  • Background on Presidential Nomination

  • Information Resources (Current & Historical)

    • Primary Debates & Campaign Advertising

    • Primaries & Caucuses

    • Party Platforms & Conventions

    • Public Opinion

  • Third Parties


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Eligibility to Run for President

  • Article II, Section 1

    • Natural-born citizen

    • At least 35 years of age

    • U.S. resident for at least 14 years

  • 22nd Amendment

    • No one may serve more than two full terms

  • No official requirement of previous elective office or military service


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Pre-Nomination Phase

  • Raise money

  • Test the waters via exploratory committees

  • Formally name campaign committees

  • File with the Federal Election Commission http://www.fec.gov/

  • Publicly announce candidacy


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Campaign Advertising

  • Positive public image of candidate

  • Negative image of opposition

  • Sources for ads & public statements

    • Running for President: The Candidates and Their Images, 1789-1992

    • Candidate statements via Project Vote Smart http://www.vote-smart.org/

    • Campaign announcements & ads via C-SPAN http://www.c-span.org/vote2004/profiles.asphttp://www.c-span.org/vote2004/campads.asp


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Primary Debates

  • Held between candidates of the same party

  • Initial fight for popularity

  • Opportunity to set campaign rhetoric, issues and agenda

  • First debate held 1948 in Oregon between NY Gov. Thomas Dewey & former MN Gov. Harold Stassen


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Sources of Debates

  • Newspaper coverage

    • Proquest Historical Newspapers

    • LexisNexis

    • NewsBank

  • Videos

    • Vanderbilt University Television News Archive http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/

    • C-SPAN Archives http://www.c-spanarchives.org/


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History of the Primary/Caucus

  • Congressional caucuses were the traditional method of selecting nominees until 1824

  • Multi-tiered nominating caucus-conventions began in the 1830s to reflect popular will

  • Primaries began about 1910 in state elections

    • Pressure from Progressives

    • Applied to national elections as of 1948

  • U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook


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Election to nominate party candidates for the general election

Voters elect delegates to national convention

Voting can be closed (only registered party members) or open (non-registered)

Meeting of party members or leaders to select nominees

Delegates to national convention are chosen

Often used with state convention

Support for a candidate registered by public declaration

Primary vs. Caucus


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Delegate Scorecard election

  • Number of delegates & assignments defined by national parties

  • As candidates drop out, delegates are redistributed

  • Unpledged delegates are aligned as the process continues


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Iowa & New Hampshire election

  • First in the nation

    • Iowa Caucus/New Hampshire Primary

  • Front-loading

    • Six-week period between February & March

  • Winners here often take the convention


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Super Tuesday election

  • Began with Southern Legislative Conference 1988

  • Provides over half of the needed delegates

  • This year is March 2, 2004

    • CA (370), NY (236) & OH (140)

    • MA (93), GA (86), MN (72) & MD (69)

    • CT (49), RI (21), & VT (15)


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Primary & Caucus Results election

  • Official state tallies

    • State Departments of State

    • Federal Election Commission

  • Unofficial compiled sources

    • America at the Polls, 1920-2000

    • America Votes (1956-present)

    • United States Presidential Primary Elections, 1968-1996

    • CNN.com American Votes 2004 http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/


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National Party Conventions election

  • National party platform is finalized and announced

  • Delegates tallied to determine the party’s nominees

  • Nominees for President and Vice President are announced

  • Acceptance speeches are made

  • Race for the general election begins


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Party Platforms election

  • Statement of the party’s agenda and positions

  • Comprised of “planks” or specific issue statements

  • Platform sources

    • Official proceedings of party conventions

    • National Party Platforms, 1840-1976

      • 1980 supplement

    • National Party Conventions, 1831-1992

    • The American Presidency Project http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/


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Public Opinion Polls election

  • Began in earnest circa 1972

  • Used to project winners & losers

    • “Horse race” coverage

  • Largely consist of exit polls & surveys

  • Conducted by major news networks, papers & pollsters

    • ABC, CBS, CNN, New York Times, L.A. Times

    • Gallup, Zogby, Harris, Roper


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Public Opinion Sources election

  • Opinion poll indexes/databases

    • Polling the Nations

    • iPoll Databank

    • American Public Opinion Index

  • News sources

  • NES Guide to Public Opinion & Electoral Behavior

    • Evaluation of Presidential Candidates http://www.umich.edu/~nes/nesguide/gd-index.htm#7


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Third Parties election

  • Often not reported due to relative size, influence, and non-mainstream focus

  • Spoilers may get better coverage (i.e. Green Party)

  • Generally necessary to research the parties individually

  • Third Party Presidential Nominating Conventions, Proceedings, Records, Etc.

    • Microfilm good for historical coverage of select third parties

    • PUL does not own, Penn State & NYPL do.


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Tune in Next Time electionWhen John Says…

Don’t blame me, I voted for the other guy!


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