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Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics [Paperback]

Nelson W. Polsby , Aaron Wildavsky , Steven E. Schier , David A. Hopkins
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2011 0742564231 978-0742564237 13th Edition
Brimming with data and examples from the historic 2008 election, and laced with previews of 2012, the thirteenth edition of this classic text 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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Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics + The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
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Editorial Reviews


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. (Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M.)

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. (Martin J. Medhurst)

About 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 (Ph.D., Berkeley) is assistant professor of political science at Boston College.

Product Details

  • Series: Presidential Elections
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 13th Edition edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742564231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742564237
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Polsby's Presidential Elections offers a clear and cogent account of the presidential election process including the strategic incentives facing: voters, parties, interest groups, candidates, and the press. He debunks myths propounded by the popular press on why Americans don't vote (we're so mobile, not we're alienated), analyzes the differing strategic positions faced by the major parties, and shows how the news media has evolved into a crucially important interest group, with its own interests. The book is easily accessible to those who have no formal training in political science, while it offers new insights for serious students. In sum, Polsby's book should appeal to anyone who wants to understand why presidential elections operate the way they do.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed look into the current democratic system September 13, 2000
The book is very detailed and informative in the election process. The book covers everything from the primaries to push polling as well as finacing and campaign reform. The book walks you through the political process starting with the time before the primaries and ends with the rap up of the election.If you are just entering the world of politics or you would like to know excatly where your votes goes, this is a great book for you. It is easy to read and goes into great lenght on the presidential elction process. I read this book when I began my study of political science and I would recomend it as a stepping stone into politics. It is a must have for any political junkie or the average person that would like to get involved in politics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When I taught a course on campsigns in presidential election years decades ago, this was one of my textbooks. Polsby and Wildavsky provide a nice freamwork for analyzing presidential elections. Their writing style is also accessible to undergraduate students.

The first part of the book reflects upon the "strategic environment" of presidential elections. This ioncludes such factors as voters and what motivates them, groups, the Electoral College, money, and the information environment. The next sequence of chapters looks at how candidiates strive to get nominated and--once nominated--elected. Then, the role of issues in presidential electiosn and how elections serve to affect future policy decisions.

This volume is one in a series of estimable volumes. While this is an older volume, it is a fine exemplar of the series.
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