Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics / Edition 13

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Brimming with data and examples from the historic 2008 election and laced with previews of 2012, the thirteenth edition of the classic Presidential Elections offers a complete overview of the presidential election process from the earliest straw polls and fundraisers to final voter turnout and exit interviews.

The newest edition's comprehensive coverage includes campaign strategy with overviews of the changes in campaign finance and the growing role of the Internet. Also, the thirteenth edition explores the effect of the forward-creeping presidential nomination process and the sequence of electoral events. All of these aspects and the issues themselves are discussed by a wide array of actors in the electoral process: voters, interest groups, political parties, the media, and the candidates themselves. In the final pages, the authors take a broader view of the American political system and ongoing pressure to reform its institutions in order to address perceived imperfections in the electoral process. The thirteenth edition is a timely update to this essential text on American elections.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier
The thirteenth edition of Presidential Elections continues to be an accessible, comprehensive 'must read' on the U.S. presidency. It is factually packed and provides a stimulating assessment of the American democratic system.
Martin J. Medhurst
Presidential Elections is the finest book of its type on the market. It is a wonderful teaching tool that presents accurate and up-to-date information on the election process. Highly recommended.
<:st>New edition of the standard work first published in 1964. Cited in Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742564237
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Edition description: 13th Edition
  • Edition number: 13
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,299,301
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nelson W. Polsby was Heller Professor of Political Science and past Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught American politics for forty years. He was a former editor of the American Political Science Review and the Annual Review of Political Science, a Vice President of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, and a former Brookings and Guggenheim Fellow. His other books include Consequences of Party Reform (1983), New Federalist Papers (with Alan Brinkley and Kathleen M. Sullivan, 1997), and How Congress Evolves (2004). He died in 2007. Aaron Wildavsky was Class of 1940 Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and founding dean of Berkeley's Graduate (now Goldman) School of Public Policy. He died in 1994. Steven E. Schier is Dorothy H. and Edward C. Congdon Professor of Political Science at Carleton College. He is the author or editor of eleven books and numerous scholarly and media articles. David A. Hopkins (PhD, Berkeley) is assistant professor of political science at Boston College.

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Table of Contents

List of Figure, Tables, and Boxes xi

Preface xiii

Part I The strategic Environment 1

1 Voters 3

Why People Don't Vote 3

Why People Do Vote: A Theory of Social Connectedness 8

Party Identification as Social Identity 10

Parties as Aggregates of Loyal Voters 11

Ideologies, Candidates, and Issues in the Minds of Voters 15

Changes in Party Identification: Social Habit versus Contemporary Evaluation 18

A Central Strategic Problem: The Attentiveness of Voters 22

2 Groups 25

The Presidential Vote as an Aggregation of Interest Groups 25

Variations among Interest Groups 33

"Special" Interests and Public Interest Groups 37

Political Parties as Organizations 42

Third Parties 47

3 Rules and resources 51

Rules: The Electoral College 51

Thinking about Resources 52

Resources: Money 53

The Beverly Hills Primary 53

Campaign Money in the Prenomination Period 59

Raising and Spending Money in the General Election 61

Does Money Buy Elections? 64

Campaign Finance Reform 70

Resources: Control over Information 73

Newspapers 74

Television 79

The Internet and Other New Media 82

Incumbency as a Resource: The Presidency 85

Incumbency as a Liability: The Vice Presidency 88

The Balance of Resources 92

Part II Sequences 93

4 The Nomination Process 95

Before the Primaries 97

Iowa and New Hampshire: The First Hurdles 100

1972 101

1976 102

1980 103

1984 104

1988 104

1992 105

1996 106

2000 107

2004 108

2008 l09

What Do These Historical Vignettes Teach? 111

State Primaries 112

State Caucuses 124

Superdelegates 126

The National Party Conventions 128

Candidate Organizations at the Conventions 130

Party Delegates at the Conventions 131

The Convention as Advertising 135

The Vice Presidential Nominee 138

The Future of National Conventions 143

5 The Campaign 147

The Well-Traveled Candidates 148

Persuading Voters 152

Economic Issues 153

Foreign Issues 155

Social Issues 156

Presentation of Self 158

Negative Campaigning 162

Getting Good Press 164

Campaign Professionals 167

Policy Advisers 171

Polling 173

Focus Groups 178

Television Advertising 180

New Media 182

Televised Debates 184

Getting Out the Vote 190

Campaign Blunders 192

Forecasting the Outcome 197

Counting the Vote 203

Part III Issues 209

6 Appraisals 211

The Political Theory of Policy Government 214

Reform by Means of Participatory Democracy 219

Some Specific Reforms 223

The Nomination Process 224

The Decline of the National Convention 228

The Electoral College 231

Party Platforms and Party Differences 238

7 American Parties and Democracy 241

Elections and Public Policy 242

Parties of Advocacy versus Parties of Intermediation 247

Appendixes 253

A Vote by Groups in Presidential Elections, 1952-2008 255

B Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by Population Characteristics,1968-2008 263

C Selections from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms, 2008 275

Notes 281

Index 329

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