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The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns

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ISBN-13: 978-0691139630
ISBN-10: 0691139636
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Editorial Reviews

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"This is not just another book about the impact of the economy on elections. The Message Matters breaks new ground in showing how presidential candidates effectively use the economy when it works in their favor and how some candidates win even when the economy is working against them."--Stanley B. Greenberg, American Prospect

"Lucid writing sheds light on a subject often neglected, and readers can glean some useful information."--Choice

"This is an impressive book. Vavreck's main contributions are to offer a coherent theory of how economic context should condition campaign effects, to document what types of campaigns presidential candidates have run, and to show that those candidates running the campaigns she suggests have influenced the election in their favor."--Jonathan Nagler, Political Science Quarterly

"Vavreck's book is an interesting and very readable contribution for people with an interest in media and election studies. The themes candidates use within American election cycles are now much better illuminated and Vavreck opens the door for a host of exciting analyses that will likely be built on The Message Matters' foundation."--Anders B. Rasmussen, MedieKultur

From the Back Cover


"Vavreck's creative theorizing and informative historical analysis will change the way political scientists think about presidential campaigns. While giving campaign strategists their overdue due, she also sheds invaluable light on how political contexts shape their strategies and their odds of success."--Larry M. Bartels, author of Unequal Democracy


"Lynn Vavreck's message matters. She explains how and when candidate messages can clarify distinctions and gain vote share over the course of a campaign. Moving beyond puerile arguments about whether campaigns matter, Vavreck identifies critical differences among issues--and between incumbents and challengers--that determine which messages are persuasive."--Samuel L. Popkin, University of California, San Diego


"I have not read a book of comparable elegance of argument and mastery of analysis in years. It is outstanding on three dimensions. In its combination of analytical depth and economy, it is a model for research on election campaigns. In its fusion of theory and empirics, it is a model for research in political science. In its principled, persistent, ingenious efforts to turn up evidence against its own hypotheses, it is a model for the social sciences."--Paul M. Sniderman, Stanford University


"Professor Vavreck shows, for the first time, how the economy plays for or against political candidates in the context of their campaigns. The work is a monumental theoretical and empirical achievement that promises to become a political science classic."--Michael S. Lewis-Beck, author of Economics and Elections


"A pathbreaking contribution to the study of American politics, The Message Matters provides new insights into how campaigns affect the magnitude of the economic vote. It will be required reading for anyone doing serious work in the field of campaigns."--Raymond Duch, Nuffield College, University of Oxford


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691139636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691139630
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Noble on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was lucky to work with Vavreck at UCLA as an undergrad, and this work really reflects her creativity and ambition for producing ground-breaking work on political campaigns. Her coding scheme of political advertisements, which investigates message content closely by coding phrases within the message - instead of more broad approaches - is great for not only showing that the message DOES matter (contrary to a historical skepticism), but also HOW it matters; in this case, the economy is used as an example of a force that resounds with voters. I would recommend this book to friends studying presidential campaigns, as well as political communication researchers who are seeking to use a quantitative methodological approach to closely analyze advertising discourse.
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