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Capturing Campaign Effects

Henry E. Brady and Richard Johnston, eds.

Publication Year: 2006

Capturing Campaign Effects is the definitive study to date of the influence of campaigns on political culture. Comprising a broad exploration of campaign factors (debates, news coverage, advertising, and polls) and their effects (priming, learning, and persuasion), as well as an impressive survey of techniques for the collection and analysis of campaign data, Capturing Campaign Effects examines different kinds of campaigns in the U.S. and abroad and presents strong evidence for significant campaign effects. "Capturing Campaign Effects is an accessible and penetrating account of modern scholarship on electoral politics. It draws critical insights from a range of innovative analyses." --Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan "What a wonderful way to usher in the new era of election studies! This book spotlights fascinating paradoxes in the literature of voting behavior, highlights many promising approaches to resolving those paradoxes, and shows how these strategies can yield important findings with terrific payoffs for our understanding of contemporary democracy. Fasten your seatbelts, folks: scholarship on elections is about to speed up thanks to this collection of great essays." --Jon Krosnick, Stanford University "The past decade has seen a renewed interest in understanding campaign effects. How and when do voters learn? Does the election campaign even matter at all? Capturing Campaign Effects draws on leading political scientists to address these matters. The result is a collection that will become the major reference for the study of campaigns. The lesson that emerges is that campaigns do affect voter decision making, usually for the better." --Robert S. Erikson, Columbia University Henry E. Brady is Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, and Director of the Survey Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Richard Johnston is Professor and Head of Political Science and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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pp. vi-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book has been a long time coming—too long, we admit. In part this reflects the rush of events, most critically the rapid spread of the very studies this book is intended to encourage. The editors got caught up in this happy evolution, as did several of the contributors. For the same reason, the introductory chapter seemed in a race against time: no sooner did we finish...

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The Study of Political Campaigns

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pp. 1-26

Do political campaigns matter? This question, like so many in political science, seems natural, important, and straightforward. Yet the answer founders on the difficulty of defining both the subject and the predicate. What do we mean by political campaigns? How might they matter? This essay attempts to organize the study of campaigns ...

I. Voter Decision Making and Campaign Effects

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The Paradox of Minimal Effects

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pp. 29-44

Central to the study of campaigns and elections lies a paradox. Voters rely heavily on the information conveyed by campaigns in order to form judgments about who should govern. By most accounts, citizens in modern democracies know little about and feel distant from public affairs. Most people tune in during political campaigns, and what they see and hear can ifluence their opinions considerably ...

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The Impact of Campaigns on Discrepancies, Errors, and Biases in Voting Behavior

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pp. 45-77

There are various ways by which political campaigns can be relevant. One can look at the impact of political campaigns on vote intentions,on opinions about leaders and issues, on perceptions of candidates’ issue positions, and on the determinants of decisions (Bartels 1988, 1992; Franklin1991; Johnston et al. 1992, 1996b; Johnston, ...

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Priming and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns

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pp. 78-112

In every election cycle, the major parties and their presidential candidates spend vast sums of money and prodigious amounts of energy on the campaign for the White House. Thousands of journalists, campaign operatives, pollsters, and media consultants derive their livings from this yearlong spectacle. Every day, interested citizens can read and watch ...

II. Research Designs and Statistical Methods for Studying Campaign Effects

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Campaigns as Experiments

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pp. 115-133

Every election year, the traffic rotaries around Boston clog with people carrying brightly colored signs bearing the names of candidates. Kennedy. Kerry. Weld. Menino. Celucci. Swift. The sign bearers come from all walks of life. Some are clad in business suits and look like they took the afternoon off from brokering deals; others wear overalls and...

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Three Virtues of Panel Data for the Analysis of Campaign Effects

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pp. 134-163

The primary aim of participants in election campaigns is to produce politically significant changes in the attitudes and perceptions of prospective voters. The primary aim of scholarly observers of election campaigns is to measure and explain those politically significant changes. Because campaigns are dynamic phenomena, good campaign studies must...

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The Rolling Cross-Section and Causal Attribution

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pp. 164-195

For capturing campaign effects, the main alternative to the panel design is controlled daily release of sample, the “rolling cross-section.” Unlike the panel, the rolling cross-section cannot by itself capture individual change, but it is a more practical and cost-effective alternative for capturing aggregate shifts. It can, moreover, be combined ...

III. Campaign Effects in Congressional and Senatorial Races: Information and Issues

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Measuring Campaign Spending Effects in U.S. House Elections

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pp. 199-220

It would scarcely occur to anyone who studies modern-day congressional elections in the United States to ask, “Do campaigns matter?" Virtually everything we have learned from forty years of survey research on voting behavior in congressional elections tells us that campaigns should matter, and virtually everything ...

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Informational Rhythms of Incumbent-Dominated Congressional Elections

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pp. 221-241

Incumbency advantage and informational asymmetries go together in campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives. It is an uncontroversial proposition that challengers do less well on Election Day in large measure because fewer citizens know who they are and because those citizens that do so know less about the challenger than the incumbent ...

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Alternative Tests for the Effects of Campaigns and Candidates on Voting Behavior

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pp. 242-260

Do candidates and campaigns influence voting behavior? In order to answer this question, scholars often associate the former with the latter. For example, in their analysis of the 1992 U.S. presidential election, Alvarez and Nagler (1995) find a significant effect of voters’ preferences regarding abortion policy and link it to the candidates’ positions: ...

IV. The Rules of the Game and Election Results

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Do Polls Influence the Vote?

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pp. 263-279

Polls provide information about how well the parties are doing in a campaign. That information may affect voters’ perceptions of the various parties’ chances of winning in a first past the post (FPP) system such as Canada or the chances of being part of a coalition government in a proportional representation (PR) system. By affecting voters’ expectations about the outcome of the election, polls may affect ...

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Strategic Learning in Campaigns with Proportional Representation: Evidence from New Zealand

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pp. 280-304

A campaign is likely to matter if strategic questions remain open when it starts. But the strategic possibilities of campaigns seem most obvious for single-member plurality or first past the post (FPP) systems. What of proportional representation (PR) systems? This essay explores the pos-sibilities for strategic dynamics in New Zealand, once the ideal type of...

V. The Role of the Mass Media

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Studying Statewide Political Campaigns

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pp. 307-335

There is little in the academic literature about the dynamics of campaign advertising strategies and their effects on candidate electoral success. While there have been theoretical and empirical studies of campaign strategy (Ferejohn and Noll 1978; Skarpedas and Grofman 1995;Glazer 1990) and scattered treatments of candidate advertising strategies...

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Gender, Media Coverage, and the Dynamics of Leader Evaluations: The Case of the 1993 Canadian Election

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pp. 336-355

Does gender condition acceptance of media messages about male and female candidates? Drawing on insights from the media effects literature and the gender identity literature we argue that it does. This argument is tested using data from the 1993 Canadian election. With a high profile woman running for the country’s top executive office, this election offers ...

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Mass Media and Third-Party Insurgency

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pp. 356-382

Election campaigns are rarely treated as decisive for election outcomes (Gelman and King 1993; Holbrook 1996; cf. Johnston et al. 1992). Instead, the information environment of campaigns is said to activate preexisting political predispositions within the electorate and thereby generate predictable outcomes. Although the “minimal effects” thesis has a strong hold on political science, this essay


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pp. 383-384


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pp. 385-395

E-ISBN-13: 9780472023035
E-ISBN-10: 0472023039
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472069217
Print-ISBN-10: 0472069217

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 27 Figures, 66 Tables
Publication Year: 2006