Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643169
 
 

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Running to the Right: Effects of Campaign Strategy on Mass Opinion and Behavior


Diana C. Mutz


University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Susanna Dilliplane


University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

2010

APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper

Abstract:     
In this chapter we draw on evidence from the 2008 general election to evaluate the effects of Republican John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential running mate. Our interest is not in Palin, nor in vice-presidential candidates, per se, but rather in what this particular case tells us about the electoral effects of an abrupt change in a presidential candidate’s perceived ideological position. Immediately after Palin’s selection, the relatively stable perceptions of McCain’s ideology shifted in a more conservative direction. Palin’s selection served as an effective ideological cue, signaling that the candidate was more conservative than previously thought.

McCain’s choice was widely interpreted by the press as a purposeful abandonment of the center in favor of energizing the conservative Republican base, a move that flies in the face of median voter theory. But whether his shift in perceived ideological position served as a net plus to energize those already in his camp, or a net negative – distancing him from a larger group of potential supporters – remains to be seen. Using panel data, we analyze the effects of this perceived shift on candidate preference and turnout.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

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Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: August 14, 2010

Suggested Citation

Mutz, Diana C. and Dilliplane, Susanna, Running to the Right: Effects of Campaign Strategy on Mass Opinion and Behavior (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643169

Contact Information

Diana C. Mutz (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )
Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
Susanna Dilliplane
University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )
Philadelphia, PA
United States
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