What Does 'Do Campaigns Matter?' Mean?

11 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2007

See all articles by Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science

Joseph Bafumi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

David Park

George Washington University

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

Scholars disagree over the extent to which presidential campaigns activate predispositions in voters or create vote preferences that could not be predicted. When campaign related information flows activate predispositions, election results are largely predetermined given balanced resources. They can be accurately forecast well before a campaign has run its course. Alternatively, campaigns may change vote outcomes beyond forcing predispositions to some equilibrium level. We find most evidence for the former: opinion poll data are consistent with Presidential campaigns activating predispositions, with fundamental variables increasing in importance as a presidential election draws near.

Keywords: campaign effects, enlightened preferences, mean reversion, presidential elections, random walk

Suggested Citation

Gelman, Andrew and Bafumi, Joseph and Park, David, What Does 'Do Campaigns Matter?' Mean? (January 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1010390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1010390

Andrew Gelman (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-4883 (Phone)
212-663-2454 (Fax)

Joseph Bafumi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

Hanover, NH
United States

David Park

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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