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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  Do Presidential Campaigns matter?
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Author Topic: Do Presidential Campaigns matter?  (Read 2293 times)
zorkpolitics
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« on: January 23, 2005, 07:41:06 pm »

In The American Campaign, James Campbell analyzes Presidential campaigns from 1872 to 1996 and finds that the campaigns have only a small chance of affecting the result.  Voter choice is heavily constrained by Partisanship, the current economic situation, and incumbency, and is mostly set by the end of the conventions.  Thus by Labor Day and the start of the Campaign (though one could argue the Kerry-Bush campaign started in Mar last year)  the candidate leading in the polls goes on to win about 90% of the time, though the actual margin usually decreases by election day.

In fact Presidential campaigns appear to have only affected the outcome in 4 elections (only two in the 20th century: Wilson 1916 and Truman 1948). 

2004 seems to fit the pattern, Bush was ahead after the conventions and went on to win.  Indeed going back to Feb, Bush led Kerry in every month of the Rasmussen Poll, except Mar and Jul.  Again suggesting the Campaigns reenforced voters opinions but didn’t really change them.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Monthly%20summary.htm

So maybe each candidate should simply donate their Federal Election budget to their favorite charity, stay home and answer reporter’s questions.
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MaC
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2005, 10:42:10 pm »

within the two-party realm, it's all about timing.  But, 2004 makes me sick, because both candidates were too afraid they'd piss off their base to attempt getting any new voters.
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RJ
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2005, 11:15:36 pm »

I read somewhere Dukakis had a double digit lead on Bush sr. in 1988 when the campaigns got into full swing(17 points by some estimates). If that's true, something must have happened during the campaign since Bush recieved over 400 electoral votes and beat Dukakis by about 8 points on the popular column.

I don't think the campaign really means a whole lot for the underdog as much as it does for the favorite. I think it means more to not run a bad campaign than to concentrate on a good one. Obviously you would want the best one you can get, but it seems as though a bad campaign makes more of a difference than a good one. Mondale, for example, came out and said he would raise taxes in 1984. If he had little chance of dethroning Reagan before he said that, he was on life support after.
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ATFFL
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2005, 11:25:19 pm »

You heard correctly, RJ.



Many things happen to Dukakis.  First, he opened his mouth.  A terrible mistake for him.  Then he was awful at dealing with attacks.  Posing in a tank was also not the smartest move he could have made.  Then there was his emotionless response to a loaded question about the murder of his family.
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Notre Dame rules!
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2005, 11:47:25 pm »

Dukakis' tank escapade mad him look ridiculous rather than strong.  His dead-panned response to the death penalty question in regards to his wife made him look as warm as a block of ice, and finally, Willy Horton. 

The Willy Horton ads were some of the most effective ever.  It ranked up there with Reagan's 'Morning in America' ads and the 'Daisy' ad of '64      Bush 41 may owe his presidency to Al Gore dredging up Willy Horton during the Democrat primaries.
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Akno21
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2005, 11:56:08 pm »

Dukakis should have gone after Shaw. Stand up for his family.
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Notre Dame rules!
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2005, 12:28:37 am »

Dukakis knew the question was coming, as did both candidates during that debate.  That was his rehearsed response.   If that 's the best he could do with practice, then what would he have done without prepping?  Yikes!
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RJ
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2005, 12:33:56 am »

Anyone have a picture of Dukakis in the tank? I saw it earlier, and it's just classic!
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muon2
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2005, 01:37:23 pm »

In The American Campaign, James Campbell analyzes Presidential campaigns from 1872 to 1996 and finds that the campaigns have only a small chance of affecting the result.  Voter choice is heavily constrained by Partisanship, the current economic situation, and incumbency, and is mostly set by the end of the conventions.  Thus by Labor Day and the start of the Campaign (though one could argue the Kerry-Bush campaign started in Mar last year)  the candidate leading in the polls goes on to win about 90% of the time, though the actual margin usually decreases by election day.

In fact Presidential campaigns appear to have only affected the outcome in 4 elections (only two in the 20th century: Wilson 1916 and Truman 1948). 

2004 seems to fit the pattern, Bush was ahead after the conventions and went on to win.  Indeed going back to Feb, Bush led Kerry in every month of the Rasmussen Poll, except Mar and Jul.  Again suggesting the Campaigns reenforced voters opinions but didnít really change them.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Monthly%20summary.htm

So maybe each candidate should simply donate their Federal Election budget to their favorite charity, stay home and answer reporterís questions.

Allan Lichtman's The Thirteen Keys to the Presidency makes the same argument. In his analysis, the campaigns don't matter much and most elections turn on factors that have locked in months before the election.

Lichtman would not list 1916 as one where the campaign mattered. The critical factors were sown up by the time of Wilson's nomination. He would count the 1948 election as one where the campaign might have mattered. A charismatic campaign by the GOP might have made a difference, but Dewey avoided clashes assuming he was ahead. OTOH, if Wallace had stepped back from the campaign, the race would have looked secure for Truman.
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BobOMac2k2
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2005, 09:29:24 pm »



I think this is what you are talking about.
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RJ
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2005, 11:00:32 pm »

Yes it was. Thanks.

Didn't James Campell or Allan Lichtman list the election of 1988? Why or why not?
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