Campaigns matter! (Why? Always?) Campaigns don’t matter at all! (Why not? Never?) Make a list!
What determines election outcomes? • Long term voter predispositions
Funnel of Causality Long term, stable partisan and policy predispositions Current policy preferences and perceptions of current conditions Retrospective evaluations of the president concerning results Impressions of the candidates’ personal qualities Prospective evaluations of the candidates and parties Vote choice
What determines election outcomes? • Long term voter predispositions • Issues, for issue voters • Current events and the ECONOMY (pres. esp.) • Candidates and Campaigns?
Campaigns Matter? • There is some conversion of voters (14%?) • There is some activation of voters (15%?) • Presidential elections: • Convention effects • Late campaign events • They raise issues and shape candidate images that can affect marginal elections
When do campaigns have a bigger effect? • In close elections • On nonpartisan voters • On uninformed voters
What affects whether a campaign can persuade undecideds? • How much is known about the candidate • How much counter-information is available • Whether campaign arguments are accepted as relevant to voters’ lives
Implications for strategy:Motivate, inspire and turn out committed voters?-Or-Win over and turn out swing voters?