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1 Civic Education Workshop Day 2: Campaigns and Elections.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Civic Education Workshop Day 2: Campaigns and Elections."— Presentation transcript:


2 1 Civic Education Workshop Day 2: Campaigns and Elections

3 2 What do elections do? Select Candidates Establish Policy Directions Formalize the Citizen’s Role in Government Equalize Citizens (one person, one vote) Legitimizes Government to Citizens (Good or Bad?) Moral Development of Citizens (Rousseau)

4 3 Three Theories of Voting Median Voter Theory Responsible Parties Theory Hybrid Theory

5 4 Median Voter Theory Assumes candidates want to win Assumes voters vote for candidate closest to them This creates pressure for candidates to campaign near the middle (median) and adopt policy near the middle

6 5 Median Voter Model Policy Campaign Policy Campaign

7 6 Responsible Parties Model Assumes candidates have policy preferences Assumes voters vote for candidates moving policy in their preferred direction This creates pressures for candidates to campaign apart from each other and adopt policies away from the middle

8 7 Responsible Parties Model Campaign Policy Campaign Policy

9 8 Reality is a Hybrid Model Candidates pulled away from the middle by: Activists Nomination Process Own policy preferences Candidates pushed to the middle by: Need to win 50% +1 in the General Election

10 9 Hybrid Model Campaign Policy Campaign Policy

11 10 Role of Campaigns Candidates communicate with voters Candidates learn about voters Voters learn about candidates Voters learn about other voters (polls) Candidates define the choice for voters Campaigns shape the informational context within which voters find themselves

12 11 Campaigns DO NOT... Change many people’s minds on an issue unless it is a new issue Let candidates easily change their own positions on issues

13 12 Campaigns DO... Change the perceived importance of different issues for voters Draw contrasts between candidates Allow candidates to focus on what helps them AND what hurts their opponent. Whomever wins in defining the nature of the choice has the advantage

14 13 Which Issue is Salient? ABX AXB Taxes Abortion Candidate A will want to focus on Tax Issues. Candidate B will want to focus on Abortion. Voter X votes based on which issue matters most to him/her.

15 14 Incumbents vs. Challengers Incumbents have an advantage from Name recognition Two or more years of service Established organizations and money They were good enough to win last time In order to win, challengers must Give voters a reason to vote FOR them Give voters a reason to vote AGAINST the incumbent

16 15 National vs. Local campaigns Campaigns have their largest impact on local elections because they are the dominant source of information Local elections use personal contacts, door-to- door efforts, local events, etc. to get the candidate’s name out (Retail Politics) Voters don’t support candidates they don’t know Incumbency advantage Importance of Party Labels

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