• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A thorough examination of the impact of campaign politics on presidential elections in the United States is presented in this book. Using actual election results and empirical evidence, the author also incorporates data on additional factors such as media coverage, the impact of nominating conventions on public opinion, presidential debates, and other events such as staff shake-ups, endorsements and scandals. In so doing, Holbrook develops a model for testing campaigns and proves how campaigns play a key role in shaping public opinion and, ultimately, influencing outcomes.

A Model of Campaign Effects
A model of campaign effects

The evidence in Chapter 2 does not bode well for the thesis that presidential campaigns influence election outcomes. Based on just a few variables, none of which capture campaign effects, election outcomes and voting behavior are shown to be rather easily explained. These results fit very well with the findings of previous scholarship on presidential elections (see Lewis-Beck and Rice 1992). Yet these findings are also a bit unsettling. Can it really be that presidential election campaigns have so little to do with voting behavior and election outcomes?

Contemporary presidential campaigns generate enormous amounts of information intended to persuade voters and influence the election outcome. For the individual voter to escape the tentacles of campaign communications is ...

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