AP Government and Politics Wilson: Chapter 8 Running from Office?: Congressional versus Presidential Election Campaigns
Presidential and Congressional Elections • Elections in US have 2 phases • Nomination and election to office • Congressional races are different from Prez races in several ways • Prez races are more competitive, last longer • Turnout lower in midterms • Changes appeal to voters • MoCs can help constituents in ways president cannot • MoCs can “run against DC” – how is this possible? • MoCs sometimes enjoy protection/insulated from party of president • Coattail effect has lessened as people vote split ticket more often • This also illustrates weakening effects of party
Elements of Presidential Campaigns • Money – over $1 billion spent in 2008 • Much spent on advertising spots (vs. visuals) • What is the overall impact of TV political ads (spots) on voters? • Organization – staff to run campaign • Theme and Strategy • Tone – positive or negative • Theme • Trust, competence, stay the course, change, compassionate conservatism • Timing – early primaries, • Go for broke or hold back reserves • Targets – which voters? • Only some change votes from one election to next. • Issues • Position(two sides) vs. Valence (one side, who’s better) • Valence becoming more important • Televised Debates • Why would incumbent NOT want to debate a challenger?