In the past several decades, the country has seen some incumbent presidents win second terms by margins previously believed to be unattainable, yet has witnessed defeats of more incumbents than at any time in our national history. These outcomes are directly related to the presence of television and to the changing nature of incumbency. The relationship between incumbency and television news reporting has replaced partisanship as the leading determinant of voter choice in presidential elections since 1960. By showing how various recurring patterns in televised news reporting of presidential elections and of the presidency itself have actually enhanced the reelection prospects of some incumbents while undermining others, and how these patterns have influenced the campaigns of other leading political figures, the author provides us with a new means of understanding elections to come.
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About the Author
E. D. DOVER is Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Administration at Western Oregon State College. He has taught at the University of Tennessee at Martin, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Wyoming. A long-time political and labor union activist, he is president of the Western Oregon State College Federation of Teachers.
Table of Contents
Presidential Elections in the Television Age
Elections with Strong Incumbents
Elections with Surrogate Incumbents
Elections with Weak Incumbents
Conclusions and Epilogue