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Elections And State Wide Races Essay Research

Elections And State Wide Races Essay, Research Paper author=”Alvarez, R. Michael” title=”The Dynamics of Issue Emphasis: Campaign Strategy and Media

Elections And State Wide Races Essay, Research Paper

author=”Alvarez, R. Michael”

title=”The Dynamics of Issue Emphasis: Campaign Strategy and Media

Coverage in Statewide Races”

keywords=”Campaigns, Elections, California Politics, 1994 Elections,

Senate Campaigns, Gubernatorial Campaigns”

Electoral campaigns provide for recurrent points of contact between

constitutents and representatives and thereby play an important role

in democratic theory and practice. However, most of the research on

electoral campaigns in America has reached pessimistic conclusions

about the possibility for these campaigns to inform the electorate,

and to lead to informed voting. This paper represents a component

of a larger agenda to re-examine the role that electoral campaigns

play in American democracy. Here I argue that while

presidential election campaigns are more informative than this

literature has lead us to believe, the place to look

for campaign effects is in state-wide elections. Secondly, I argue

that existing research has not taken the dynamic elements of campaigns

into consideration, and neither has it looked closely at the effects

of political institutions on campaign dynamics and strategies. In the

remainder of the paper I present some preliminary evidence from a new

data collection from the 1994 Senate and gubernatorial elections in

California. The data used here are from a content analysis of newspaper

articles from a set of state and local newspapers in California from two

weeks before the primary (June 7, 1994) until the general election

(November 8). I find: the candidates for the governor’s seat did not

generally obtain a disproportionate share of the newspaper coverage;

the incumbents in both races did not enjoy more coverage than did their

challengers; substantive coverage of the candidates was substantial, and was

not swamped by coverage of the horserace and of campaign events; issue

coverage does seem tied to the political institution, but this connection

seems partly predicated on the messages sent by the candidates; and last,

coverage across the newspapers appears to be similar over time.

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