Changes since the last edition: • The previous edition didn't quite fit modules on either comparative politics or voters and elections. The new edition is more closely mapped to modules on the latter. • New chapters on authoritarian elections and regime change, and electoral integrity. • Re-inclusion of a chapter on voting behaviour. • Stronger focus on the economy.
If elections are a defining characteristic of representative democracies, then it is important for us to understand election campaigns themselves. Are they important? That is, do they actually matter? In what ways?
Election campaigns can have many different kinds of effects on citizens. They can engage interest in politics, causing people to pay more attention than we do in periods between elections. After all, the campaigns themselves are interesting, the stuff of much political activity and mass media coverage. Many campaigns take it as an objective to pique voters’ interests – or at least to attract their attention. The more people pay attention, of course, the more they may take stock of the government and its policies. They may reconsider their ...