The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter

Paperback | October 1, 2012

byRobert S. Erikson

not yet rated|write a review

In presidential elections, do voters cast their ballots for the candidates whose platform and positions best match their own? Or is the race for president of the United States come down largely to who runs the most effective campaign? It’s a question those who study elections have been considering for years with no clear resolution. In The Timeline of Presidential Elections, Robert S. Erikson and Christopher Wlezien reveal for the first time how both factors come into play.
 
Erikson and Wlezien have amassed data from close to two thousand national polls covering every presidential election from 1952 to 2008, allowing them to see how outcomes take shape over the course of an election year. Polls from the beginning of the year, they show, have virtually no predictive power. By mid-April, when the candidates have been identified and matched in pollsters’ trial heats, preferences have come into focus—and predicted the winner in eleven of the fifteen elections. But a similar process of forming favorites takes place in the last six months, during which voters’ intentions change only gradually, with particular events—including presidential debates—rarely resulting in dramatic change.
 
Ultimately, Erikson and Wlezien show that it is through campaigns that voters are made aware of—or not made aware of—fundamental factors like candidates’ policy positions that determine which ticket will get their votes. In other words, fundamentals matter, but only because of campaigns. Timely and compelling, this book will force us to rethink our assumptions about presidential elections.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$42.06

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

In presidential elections, do voters cast their ballots for the candidates whose platform and positions best match their own? Or is the race for president of the United States come down largely to who runs the most effective campaign? It’s a question those who study elections have been considering for years with no clear resolution. In...

Robert S. Erikson is professor of political science at Columbia University and the author or coauthor of several books, including The Macro Polity.Christopher Wlezien is professor of political science at Temple University and coauthor of Degrees of Democracy, among other books.

other books by Robert S. Erikson

New Contexts for Eighteenth-Century British Fiction: 'Hearts Resolved and Hands Prepared'
New Contexts for Eighteenth-Century British Fiction: 'H...

Kobo ebook|Apr 18 2011

$92.39 online$119.99list price(save 23%)
The 2012 Presidential Election: Forecasts, Outcomes, and Consequences
The 2012 Presidential Election: Forecasts, Outcomes, an...

Kobo ebook|Oct 30 2013

$84.69 online$109.99list price(save 23%)
see all books by Robert S. Erikson
Format:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:October 1, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226922154

ISBN - 13:9780226922157

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

One / Election Campaigns and Voter Preferences
Two / Uncovering Vote Intentions using Trial-Heat Polls
Three / Thinking about Campaign Dynamics
Four / Vote Intentions over the Campaign Timeline
Five / From the Campaign to Election Day
Six / Sources of Change over the Campaign Timeline
Seven / Campaign Dynamics and the Individual Voter
Eight / The Evolution of Electoral Choice over the Campaign Timeline

Appendix / Vote Intention Data
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“The Timeline of Presidential Elections offers a sober, rigorous, and highly readable probe of what trial-heat polls have to say about election campaigns.”