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UA / Political Science / PSC 311 / Do campaigns matter?

Do campaigns matter?

Do campaigns matter?


Retrospective Evaluations

Do campaigns matter?

∙ Book by Morris Fiorina

o In order of flattering of electorate to less flattering:  Downs, Fiorina, Hunter Sowell, The American Voter,  Partisan Hearts and Minds, Converse  

∙ Introduces concept of a running tally

o We keep tabs on political parties in order to determine  which party best serves our interests  

∙ Two types of retrospective voting

o Simple

 Things that you have direct experience—war,  

economic crises  

o Mediated  

∙ Economic Voting

o Pocketbook Voting  

 Based on state of personal finances

o Sociotropic Voting

 Based on state of the economic situation of the  

What does it mean to be publicly funded?

entire country

∙ Single Issue Voter

o Vote based of a candidates stance on just one issue  Do Campaigns Matter?

∙ Campaigns typically matter negatively for candidates o Persuasion: Not very important

o GOTV: very important

 Targeted registration

 Canvassing  

Ch. 4: Money in Politics

∙ Public Funding: funds provided to candidates by the federal  government in exchange for agreeing to restrict fundraising from private donors

o Rejected by all serious candidates in 2012

 $7B spent overall

∙ John McCain had a hard time raising money in  

2010 because in the 1990s one of his main  

What is the federal election campaign act of 1974?

platforms in the Senate was campaign finance  

reform, so he had to accept the public funds We also discuss several other topics like What is an early sign of alzheimer’s?

∙ Romney: 845 M  

∙ Obama: 875 M  

∙ Campaign spending has increasing exponentially since 1996 o Relatively stable in the house, but steady increase in  Senate (peaks during Presidential election years)

 Average House spending is $1M

 Average Senate Spending is $7.6M

∙ Incumbents spent average of $9M

∙ Over half of campaign expenditures go to persuade and mobilize  voters

∙ Rules for Donors

o Who Can Give

 Individuals

∙ Free to donate as long as you are a citizen or  

permanent resident

 Public Interest Groups  

∙ Can donate as long as they aren’t tax exempt  

∙ Corporate Donations were banned with the  

passage of the Tillman Act

∙ Labor Union donations were banned with Taft


o Instead, unions and corporations must  

form Political Action Committees  

 Individuals still contribute more  

money than PACs

 Leadership PACs are raised by  

Congressmen to invest in others  


 Federal Election Campaign Act required requires  that donors and receivers file regular reports to the  If you want to learn more check out What are the stages of perimenopause?

Federal Election Commission  

o How much money can they give, and to whom?

 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act adjusted  

donation limits upward and indexed them to inflation Don't forget about the age old question of What is the formula for net present value?

∙ Current max is $5,400 for an individual  


∙ PACs can only give $5,000 per candidate

 Where can the leftover money go?

∙ Donate to party committee

∙ Refunded to donors

∙ Gifts to non family members




Candidat e


(SSF and

State/District/Lo cal Party




National Party

Committ ee

Nonconnecte d)










per year


per year



per year


per account,

per year

Candidate Committee





per year

Unlimited Transfers









per year


per year



per year


per account,

per year







per year


per year



per year


per account,

per year

State, District & Local  Party Committee





per year

Unlimited Transfers

National Party  






per year

Don't forget about the age old question of Monotonic means what?

o Political Parties and Soft Money

 Soft Money can be used for registering and  

mobilizing voters but not express advocacy

∙ Magic words like “vote for” cannot be used

o Many times, they can get around this  

stipulation through crafting ads around  

issue advocacy

 Independent Groups which are unaffiliated can raise  soft money without contribution limits

∙ See table on p. 93

∙ Examples include

o Independent Expenditure  

Committees (Super PACs) can pool  

resources from many PACs thanks to  

Citizens United

o 527 organizations are designated  

political organizations

o 501 c organizations are non profits

 3 denotes an educational, charity,  We also discuss several other topics like National savings means what?

or church org (i.e. March of Dimes)

∙ Prohibited from participating  

in political elections  

 4 denotes social welfare like the  

League of Women Voters

∙ Allowed to participate in  

politics as long as it isn’t  

their “primary purpose”

 5 includes agriculture institutions  

and labor unions

 6 includes business leagues and  

chambers of commerce  

o Rules for Spenders

 How Much Can they spend?

∙ Contributions are limited, spending is not  

(established by Buckley v. Valeo due to  

saying spending limits would limit free speech)

o Can be limited in presidential races if  

both candidates agree  If you want to learn more check out What are the factors associated with specificity?

o BRCA established a new category of  

electioneering communications that  

cannot be expressed 60 days before a  

Presidential primary or 30 before a  


 Citizens United vs. FEC in 2010 has

weakened this limit

o 1st Amendment?

 John McCain’s bill, BCRA wanted to close the soft  

money loophole  

 Citizens United vs. FEC  

∙ Led to rise of Super PACs

o Must be absence of coordination  

Ch. 5: Campaign Strategies

∙ Campaign Strategy

o Formed by considering the candidate’s base, the  

opponent’s base, and the undecided

o Also look at vote targets from previous recent similar  elections

o Take weaker years as the base vote—those that will remain loyal and are dependable for a vote  

∙ Profile undecided voting targets

o Probability samples will determine general opinions held through the population

o Then the strategy shifts to focus groups (introduced in  the 1980s)

 Typically not representative of total population, but  instead the swayable groups

 Microtargeting involves isolating voters based on  persuadeability (began in 2000 election) and can  

avoid voter ID calls where everyone is contacted

∙ Much easier to target people in an open seat  

race where no incumbent is competing  

∙ In areas with a strong party preference, more  

likely winning candidates will focus on partisan  

appeals and the assumed loser will focus on  

candidate appeals  

∙ Strategic Campaign Decisions

o The decision to run is influenced by

 Motivation

 Resources

 Campaign Organization (enthusiastic rallying base)  Opportunity

∙ More of a “when” rather then “whether” they  

will run

o Issue Priorities

 Most campaigns will choose to frame or focus on two issues and encourage the debate to center on their  strengths in these areas

∙ Parties tend to be associated with certain issue  

areas, known as issue ownership

 Candidates try to position their policy preferences  near the median voter according to the median  

voter theorem  

o Whether to attack

 Contrast Advertisements are a blend of positive  and negative campaigning to highlight differences  

between candidates in a race

∙ The person who is ahead is less likely to attack  

(therefore, incumbents are normally less likely  

to employ negative advertising)  

o Where to campaign

 Bush Model focuses on mobilizing partisans

∙ Typically used by more known candidates  

because they have less flexibility to reach  

unaligned voters

 Clinton Model focuses on independent and weakly  partisan voters  

∙ 3 goals of campaigns

o Bring out your supporters

o Attract new supporters from other side

o Discourage opponent’s supporters  

∙ Persuadable Voters

o Partisans that disagree with party on one or more  important issues

 Cross-pressured voters

o Few consistent conservatives (LESS THAN 5%)

 60% of Republicans said yes to higher taxes on  


 42% would support higher taxes on corporations  49% of tea partiers would oppose higher taxes

 47% want federal spending on education to go up  90% want SS spending to remain the same or go up  18% would ban abortion in all cases  

 64% favored some form of legal recognition for gay  couples

∙ Federalist 10

o Discusses the US as an extended republic  

 Representative Republic is ideal opposed to system  in which people are voting on every single issue

o Talks about how to avoid factions in society

 Faction is any group that unifies for their own  

interests and not those of the whole

 Must do one of two things

∙ Remove causes

o Either by restricting liberty or giving  

everyone the same ideas

o Money interests cause factions to exist  

due to economic inequality  

∙ Control effects  

 Argues that you can combat factions by making the  republic incredibly large so that there are constantly  powerful competing factions  

o Most people argue that interest groups developed after  WWII in the 1950s

 Author argues they developed during the Progressive Era

∙ Started around 1890 with anti European  

immigration reform groups

∙ Post New-Deal focused on more material  

aspects of society

 Characterizes interest groups by

∙ Number  

∙ Variety

∙ Nationalization

∙ Professionalism

∙ Organization and opportunities

CH.7: Interest Groups

∙ Interest Group: collection of people acting on the shared goals  of influencing public policy

o Do not run their own candidates

o Not always aligned with just 1 party

o Some do not get involved until after elections

∙ Largest chunk of interest groups is businesses (3,000) ∙ Next chunk is professional organizations  

∙ Why has there been such a large growth in interest groups? o Growth of government

o Improved strategies for organizational maintenance  o Prominent social movements have served as models for  others to mobilize  

o Campaign and finance laws encourage groups

 Create names to appeal and deceive the electorate   Largest increase in PACs occurred in late 1970s and  early 80s

∙ Ideological PACs have shown a recent  

increasing trend

∙ Unions are more supportive of Democrats than  

any other sector  

∙ Advertisements are more likely to be negative  

than those aired by candidates (77%)

∙ Ballot Initiative Campaigns: voters decide to support or  oppose specific policy changes

o Interest groups replace candidates as the main actors o Spend money on policies and lobbying

o Typically will support incumbent regardless of party if they  support their interests

∙ Early federalists thought that the majority would cause interest  groups to be a problem

o Extended republic with many competing factions will  prevent tyranny of the majority

 Examples of interest groups getting their way


∙ Oil Industry

∙ Higher drinking age

∙ Medical interest vs. marijuana  

∙ Farm subsidies

∙ Licensing laws

∙ Tariffs

o Diffused cost vs. concentrated gains

o Interest Group activities

 Lobbying

 Awareness raising

 Electioneering

 Litigation  

o Public Goods

 Non-excludability  

 Free-rider problem

∙ “The Logic of Collective Action”; Mancur Olson

o Problem of size

 Material incentives  

 Compulsory membership (i.e. unions)

∙ In the absence of these, collectively organizing  

will be relatively difficult  

o Challenged by Gunnar Trumbull  

 Claims that Mancur overstates how difficult it is to  form groups

 Loosely concentrated interests organize relatively  easily  

∙ Consumer protection movement challenges  


∙ Weakness in being very broad actually a  

political strength (appeal to public sentiments  

because they are viewed as being more  

trustworthy and representative)

 Olson misses the importance of ideological  


 Diffuse interests can be served without high levels of  organization  

∙ Interests without interest groups  

o Consumers

o Shareholders  

o Oppose more national debt

∙ Daniel Tichenor  

o As the government gets more involved, interest groups will get more involved to influence legislation  

 More importance placed on post-materialistic values ∙ Argues that this is wrong


∙ News Media: regular communicators of information designed to reach large audiences

o Websites are the most popular source

 20-25% of the most visited websites are from major  TV stations or newspapers  

 Majority of original news stories come from  



∙ NYTimes

∙ USAToday

o Average sound bite from presidential campaigns are only 9  seconds  

o Over 1500 talk radio stations

o Those under thirty are half as likely as those over 60 to  report that they watch the news

 However, median age of the online news consumer is 20 years younger than the general population  

∙ In 2006 election, ¼ people watched at least 30  

minutes of news per day

∙ Government’s Limited Oversight of the News Media o FCC limits broadcast radio and television because there is  limited space on the spectrum

 These outlets must adhere to right to equal time for candidates  

∙ News interviews, debates, and Presidential  

press conferences are exempt from this rule  

∙ The Business of the Media

o Often not profitable to cover campaigns and politics  o Must increase readership or create a subscription fee ∙ The Norm of Objectivity

o Development of telegraph in 1830s created wire services like the Associated Press to quickly spread information to  many outlets  

o Advances in technology have allowed niche-broadcasting  (narrow-casting) to be financially viable through sources  like blogs

∙ Which Aspects of Campaigns get Covered?

o News Values establish the criteria for newsworthiness   Novelty/newness  

 Personality  

 Conflict  

 Skepticism  

 Strategy

∙ Horse Race Journalism says who is ahead  

and behind and what their strategies are for  

advancing in the election

∙ Interpretive Journalism allows for  

commentary on strategy—not just narrate  

events but also provide context

∙ Pack Journalism is when reporters who cover  

campaigns tend to travel together and build off

each others’ stories

o The media typically do not persuade consumers   More effective in changing what people think about  Agenda Setting

∙ Priming  

o Example of Senator Gary Hart in 1988  

Presidential Campaign and extra-marital  

affair primed moral values  

∙ Federalist 57

o Madison advocates the election of "men who possess most  wisdom to discern, and ... pursue, the common good of the  society."

 Recognized that parties are inevitable 

 Parties will form around divergent interests 

∙ Parties check parties 

 Partially combated with greater equality 

 Avoid legislation that targets specific groups 

o “Duty, gratitude, interest, ambition itself, are the chords by which they will be bound to fidelity and sympathy with the  great mass of the people 

o James Madison

 4th President

 Secretary of State

 Father of Constitution

 Founder of Democratic-Republic

o Addresses concerns over the question: “Does the  constitution benefit elites?”

 The fact that they were elected can be viewed as a  sign of their good character  

 Gratitude towards their constituents

 Serving the public interest is also in the  

representative’s interest  

 Frequent reelection will remind them what their job is  Bound by every law they pass

∙ Transition to Higher Office

o Few lower level legislators move up to U.S. Congress  Fear loss of current seat

 Don’t want to move

 Limited resources  

 Incumbent advantage and gerrymandered districts  ∙ Legislative Professionalism

o Professional politicians vs. citizen legislators  

 How often meet?

 Salary

 Staff

o Squire

 Component

∙ Salary and benefits  

∙ Time demands

∙ Staff

 Implications for legislator

∙ More salary means more incentive to serve

∙ More time focused on legislating

∙ Reduce ability to pursue other opportunities

∙ Gain experience more quickly

∙ More job satisfaction

 Implications for legislature  

∙ More experienced

∙ Better members

∙ More time for party development

∙ More time for deliberation

∙ Legislature will have more influence

∙ National Conference of State Legislatures  

o Green: full-time, well-paid, large staff

o Grey: Hybrid

o Gold: Part-time, low pay, small staff

∙ “The Need for Greater Party Responsibility”

o Policies must be better integrated and provide direction for the entire country

 Parties must recognize that they are agencies for the  electorate

 Lack of success by parties is due to them refusing to  address trends in preferences to public policies

o Parties should consider reorganization  

 Must be democratic, responsible, and effective

∙ Requires commitment and cohesion  

o Must be a strong opposition party to provide viable  alternatives

∙ Is Polarization A Myth?: Abromowitz and Saunders o Ideological differences between parties is now stronger  than ever

o Contrasts Fiorina and argues that there has been a  deepened divide and it isn’t just among the political elite o Fiorina claims that

 Most Americans are moderate

∙ Very few issues that are polled have remained  

constant since the 1950s  

o Liberal-conservative identification

o Aid to blacks

o Defense spending

o Jobs and living standards

o Health insurance

o Government spending

o Abortion

 Polarization occurs on an elite level

∙ Polarization is more common among the  

politically engaged

 Polarization is more geographical—very similar views held by people in similar regions

∙ Average margin of victory in states has  

increased greatly

∙ In 2012, only 4 states were within 5 points

∙ Less than half the states are within a 10 pt.  


o 2012: 16

o 2000: 22

o 1996: 24

o 1976: 31

 Divisions based on social differences have decreased —most divisions are due to religion

 Elitism turns off large voting blocs

o Simply put, Fiorina argues that most people sit around the  middle of the spectrum while advocates and politicians lie  on the extremes—this article claims that the least  

politically involved are in the center, while those that care  and participate are in the extremes

∙ Polarization in the American Public: Fiorina

o Argues either that the public is not more polarized, or that  the public was polarized in the 1950s and nobody noticed o Geographically, if divides were deeply rooted, we could  expect to see the national elections and state elections to  be identical  

o Believes voter mobilization is more to blame

o Citizen engagement cannot be correlated to polarization  solely based on the 2004 Bush election

o 5 Types of evidence

 Socio-cultural  

 Different moral worldviews  

 Strongly opposed positions and ideologies  

 Polarized choices  

∙ How do we determine how extreme a party is  

as public opinion changes?

 Geographical Polarization

o People now are more likely to identify with the “correct”  political party

 This was elite-driven (Polarization at the top of  

society trickled down)

 2/3 of all partisans have at least one grievance with  their political party

∙ Why does polarization matter>

o Decline in political efficacy  

 Decline in participation  

o Rise in alienation  

 Apathy—conscious rejection of the entire political  system  

∙ Federal Farmer No 7

o Anti-Federalist Critique

 How do you make the legislative branch subservient  to the people?

 Says the direct democracy is not bad, just not  


∙ Members must be able to discern situation of  

the people

∙ Capacity and inclination to make good laws

o Secure against corruption

o Possess peoples’ confidence  

o Argues that the executive branch must be responsive to  demands of the people and create policies to satisfy them o Representative branches must gain confidence of the  people

 Argues number of representatives should increase  Government bodies should not allow the ascendancy  in representativeness so one group becomes masters and the other slaves

o Three types of aristocracy

 Constitutional  

 Factional

 Natural  

∙ The elite tend to be the representatives in  


o Higher number will combat this  


o 4-5,000

∙ Edmond Burke: Speech to the Electors of Bristol

o Representatives do not see requests of constituents as  mandates  

o However, representatives are no longer members of  “Bristol,” but instead members of parliament—of the whole —that’s who they need to listen to

o Representatives should rely on their own personal  judgment  

 Not his job to satisfy whims of his constituents

 Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from  different and hostile interests while each must  

maintain against other agents and advocates—

deliberate assembly of one nation with one interest ∙ Mayhew: Divided we Govern

o Everybody hates Congress, but loves their Congressman o Different standard between the institution and its members o Complaint is that Congress can’t gets anything done  Gridlock with President at odds with Congress

∙ Mayhew: Congress; The Electoral Connection

o Reelection is the primary concern of all members  Advertising

 Credit claiming

 Position taking

∙ Co-sponsoring is very popular in order to pass  

a bill

∙ Fenno: Home Style

o Washington Style

 Members focus is entirely on governing and writing  legislation for the entire country

o Home style  

 Focused on what is going on in home districts

∙ Focused on reelection and tends to be the  

norm for legislators early in their career

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