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Why Study Only Presidential Campaigns? Statewide Races as a Laboratory for Campaign Analysis
Alvarez, R. Michael

Uploaded 06-19-1997
Keywords presidential campaigns
statewide campaigns
campaign dynamics
voter learning
study design
case studies
Abstract Political campaigns play a central role in democratic politics since they are an important source of contact between citizens and voters. But the literature has been quite pessimistic about whether political campaigns can influence the preferences and behavior of voters. In this paper I argue that one of the primary reasons for this pessimism stems from the consistent and lasting focus on presidential campaigns. While presidential campaigns are an important aspect of the American political process, they make poor laboratories for the study of campaigns. Instead I argue that statewide political campaigns provide a much better laboratory for the study of campaigns. The paper presents a series of empirical analyses of statewide campaigns and concludes with a discussion of different designs for the study of statewide campaigns.

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