- Series: Contemporary American Politics (Book 1)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc (June 18, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803973454
- ISBN-13: 978-0803973459
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,861,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Do Campaigns Matter? (Contemporary American Politics)
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The answer is yes and no. First, it is important to understand Holbrook's notion of equilibrium. Holbrook first uses a linear model to predict the winner of a presidential election based on data from no later than the month of May. His regression uses three variables: popularity (basically a preview of the November election), aggregate personal finances, and party tenure. This model is generally very accurate, accounting for roughly 84 percent of the data set's variability. The proportion of total vote a candidate receives as predicted by the model is that candidate's equilibrium. Since Holbrook's vote share regression is so indicative of the actual election outcome (and it is important to remember that it is based on data from no later than May of each election year) it is fairly obvious that there is actually something like "equilibrium" at play in nature.
The rest of the book investigates two key campaign events: the party convention and the debates. Holbrook's finding is that if a candidate's popularity is significantly greater than his estimated equilibrium, then that candidate will not receive a significant "bump" in the polls. However, if a candidate's popularity is significantly lower than her estimated equilibrium, then she will likely receive a significant bump in the polls. However, these bumps tend to smooth out as we step backward and look at the bigger picture: as Holbrook concludes, "although campaigns do matter and are relevant determinants of candidate support, national conditions carry more weight in determining the eventual outcome." However, if the estimated equilibrium indicates that each candidate (supposing a two party race) should expect roughly 50 percent of the electorate's support, then campaigns can make a huge difference if done right.