The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns

Princeton University Press
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The economy is so powerful in determining the results of U.S. presidential elections that political scientists can predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start. But if it is true that "it's the economy, Stupid," why do incumbents in good economies sometimes lose? The reason, Lynn Vavreck argues, is that what matters is not just the state of the economy but how candidates react to it. By demonstrating more precisely than ever before how candidates and their campaigns affect the economic vote, The Message Matters provides a powerful new way of understanding past elections--and predicting future ones.

Vavreck examines the past sixty years of presidential elections and offers a new theory of campaigns that explains why electoral victory requires more than simply being the candidate favored by prevailing economic conditions. Using data from presidential elections since 1952, she reveals why, when, and how campaign messages make a difference--and when they can outweigh economic predictors of election outcomes.



The Message Matters does more than show why candidates favored by the economy must build their campaigns around economic messages. Vavreck's theory also explains why candidates disadvantaged by the economy must try to focus their elections on noneconomic issues that meet exacting criteria--and why this is so hard to do.

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About the author

Lynn Vavreck is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is coeditor of Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence and coprincipal investigator of the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 6, 2009
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781400830480
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Economic Development
Business & Economics / Economic Conditions
Political Science / Political Process / Campaigns & Elections
Political Science / Political Process / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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This new edition of the bestselling The Logic of American Politics is thoroughly updated and covers the dramatic 2016 election results with a thorough analysis of those results. It arms students with a revised introduction to institutional design that makes concepts such as command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, and delegation easier for students to master and apply, so they clearly see how the American political system was devised and why it works the way it does. Authors Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, and Lynn Vavreck build students' critical thinking through a simple yet powerful idea: politics is about solving collective action problems.

This new edition continues to delve into partisan differences among voters and in government and highlight the increasingly partisan nature of campaigns. By exploring issues such as the Affordable Care Act’s troubled implementation, the increasing legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage in the states, and the debate over immigration, the book illustrates how the institutional structures of government, federalism, and even campaigns can help voters make sense of their choices. The concluding chapter on policymaking examines the noticeable logic that guides American policy, as shown through issues like health care reform, global climate change, and the federal budget. Students glean insights into the sources of policy problems, identify possible solutions, and realize why agreement on those solutions is often so hard to achieve.
This new edition of the bestselling The Logic of American Politics is thoroughly updated and covers the dramatic 2016 election results with a thorough analysis of those results. It arms students with a revised introduction to institutional design that makes concepts such as command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, and delegation easier for students to master and apply, so they clearly see how the American political system was devised and why it works the way it does. Authors Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, and Lynn Vavreck build students' critical thinking through a simple yet powerful idea: politics is about solving collective action problems.

This new edition continues to delve into partisan differences among voters and in government and highlight the increasingly partisan nature of campaigns. By exploring issues such as the Affordable Care Act’s troubled implementation, the increasing legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage in the states, and the debate over immigration, the book illustrates how the institutional structures of government, federalism, and even campaigns can help voters make sense of their choices. The concluding chapter on policymaking examines the noticeable logic that guides American policy, as shown through issues like health care reform, global climate change, and the federal budget. Students glean insights into the sources of policy problems, identify possible solutions, and realize why agreement on those solutions is often so hard to achieve.
This new edition of the bestselling The Logic of American Politics is thoroughly updated and covers the dramatic 2016 election results with a thorough analysis of those results. It arms students with a revised introduction to institutional design that makes concepts such as command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, and delegation easier for students to master and apply, so they clearly see how the American political system was devised and why it works the way it does. Authors Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, and Lynn Vavreck build students' critical thinking through a simple yet powerful idea: politics is about solving collective action problems.

This new edition continues to delve into partisan differences among voters and in government and highlight the increasingly partisan nature of campaigns. By exploring issues such as the Affordable Care Act’s troubled implementation, the increasing legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage in the states, and the debate over immigration, the book illustrates how the institutional structures of government, federalism, and even campaigns can help voters make sense of their choices. The concluding chapter on policymaking examines the noticeable logic that guides American policy, as shown through issues like health care reform, global climate change, and the federal budget. Students glean insights into the sources of policy problems, identify possible solutions, and realize why agreement on those solutions is often so hard to achieve.
This new edition of the bestselling The Logic of American Politics is thoroughly updated and covers the dramatic 2016 election results with a thorough analysis of those results. It arms students with a revised introduction to institutional design that makes concepts such as command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, and delegation easier for students to master and apply, so they clearly see how the American political system was devised and why it works the way it does. Authors Samuel Kernell, Gary C. Jacobson, Thad Kousser, and Lynn Vavreck build students' critical thinking through a simple yet powerful idea: politics is about solving collective action problems.

This new edition continues to delve into partisan differences among voters and in government and highlight the increasingly partisan nature of campaigns. By exploring issues such as the Affordable Care Act’s troubled implementation, the increasing legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage in the states, and the debate over immigration, the book illustrates how the institutional structures of government, federalism, and even campaigns can help voters make sense of their choices. The concluding chapter on policymaking examines the noticeable logic that guides American policy, as shown through issues like health care reform, global climate change, and the federal budget. Students glean insights into the sources of policy problems, identify possible solutions, and realize why agreement on those solutions is often so hard to achieve.
What is wrong with American political campaigns? How could the campaign process be improved? This volume brings the expertise of leading political scientists to the public debate about campaign reform. These scholars probe the reality behind the conventional wisdom that nasty, vacuous campaigns dominated by big money and cynical media coverage are perverting our political process and alienating our citizenry.
Some of their conclusions will be startling to campaigners and critics alike. For example, "attack" advertisements prove to be no more effective than self-promotional advertisements, but are more substantive. Indeed, candidates in their advertisements and speeches focus more on policy and less on strategy and process than any major news outlet, including the New York Times. The volume suggests that, as a result, prospective voters in 1996 knew more about the candidates' issue positions than in any presidential election in decades, yet turnout and public faith in the electoral process continued to decline.
For aspiring reformers, Bartels and his colleagues provide a bracing reality check. For students and scholars of electoral politics, political communication, and voting behavior, they provide an authoritative summary and interpretation of what we know about the nature and impact of political campaigns. The insights and evidence contained in this volume should be of interest to anyone concerned about the present state and future prospects of American electoral process.
Larry M. Bartels is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs and Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. Lynn Vavreck is Assistant Professor of Government, Dartmouth College. Other contributors are Bruce Buchanan, Tami Buhr, Ann Crigler, John G. Geer, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Marion Just, Daron R. Shaw, and John Zaller.
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