- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 14, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195399560
- ISBN-13: 978-0195399561
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,188,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #265 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Canadian
- #1475 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Elections
- #1923 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States > National
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The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election 1st Edition
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Scholars Kate Kenski, Bruce Hardy, and Kathleen Jamieson analyze the 2008 presidential campaign and the images the candidates evoked either through deliberate engineering or public and media reaction: the inexperienced neophyte who might be a Muslim; the aged and erratic candidate whose choice of a vice-presidential partner showed poor judgment. In part 1, the authors offer statistical analysis of polling data showing the declining popularity of President Bush and the prospects of the presidential candidates as the economy worsened, tempered with revealing commentary from focus groups. Part 2 analyzes the momentum of the campaigns through the debates and the days leading up to the election. Finally, the authors offer an analysis of the successful Obama campaign, how a young, untested senator with a very different biography than most presidential candidates managed to win and how early voting campaigns, microtargeting, and the strategy of rejecting federal election financing impacted the election. Despite the very heavy emphasis on statistics, the excerpts and detailed analysis from interview transcripts are very revealing and offer nuanced perspective on the election and implications for future elections. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"The Obama Victory: How Media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election is smart, groundbreaking and full of surprises. Despite all that's been written about the 2008 campaign, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Bruce Hardy and Kate Kenski have produced fresh, conclusive evidence of how rhetoric, themes, and unprecedented campaign spending--plus the Palin factor--explain the historic outcome. Sharply written and brilliantly documented, this is the book for anyone interested in politics."--Andrea Mitchell, NBC News
"This book aims for an audience that includes, but is much wider than, the academic reader. It is much more a "fun read" than most scholarly books, in part because it incorporates the perspectives of campaign professionals along with anecdotes from the campaign trail. Some of these anecdotes will be familiar to readers, but many will be new and fascinating to any political junkie...Anyone who wants a better understanding of the outcome of the historic 2008 presidential race should read this book."--Political Communication
"A scrupulous and revealing analysis of the 2008 presidential election campaigns...This volume is not for the politically faint of heart, but The Obama Victory likely will be viewed in the future as the go-to source for a comprehensive perspective on the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States...The rigorous dependence on data is impressive. Overall, The Obama Victory is a lively and enlightening perspective on the 2008 election."--International Journal of Communication
"Excellent and comprehensive...the book offers a data-rich and extremely well-written account of the 2008 election. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a book that is more comprehensive in scope...Reading the book is almost like reliving the campaign month-by-month."--Journal of Mass Communication Education
"This book provides critical documentation about the historic 2008 campaign. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--CHOICE
"Fifty years from now scholars studying how Barack Obama overcame the odds of winning the 2008 election may turn to this impeccably researched book with its detailed regressions of the impact of various factors on voter decisions. They will find a wealth of data, charts, and graphs; meticulous explanations of methodology; and carefully drawn conclusions."--Communication Research Trends
"The most comprehensive book on the topic to date...Kenski, Hardy, and Jamieson have done more than simply document one campaign. They provide a model for how presidential campaigns should be studied by communication scholars."--Southern Communication Journal
"The best analysis of a presidential election in 60 years. Jamieson and her colleagues have set a new standard for analyzing campaign effects on voting and mobilization. A game changer for scholars, pundits and strategists."--Samuel Popkin, Professor of Political Science, University of California-San Diego
"The rich data and analysis in this book provide the fullest account to date not only of campaign and media effects in one of the most exciting elections in American history but of how to think about these effects into the decades ahead."--Robert Shapiro, co-author of Politicians Don't Pander
"This book could transform the way we understand presidential campaigns. The Obama Victory...could force a major shift in the financing of campaign coverage."--Thomas B. Edsall, The New Republic
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If you followed the news during the campaign, you've already seen the basic story line and ideas here. The authors recap the election and the main campaign themes of both sides such as "McSame" and "Not Ready to Lead." Much of their data tries to track which themes work, which ones don't, and how they influenced public opinion over time. There isn't anything approaching a theory here, which means there isn't any real causal explanation of anything that happened. The narrative is driven by data, debates, speeches, gaffes, and other campaign events.
The main analytical structure of the narrative divides events into five periods. In the first, McCain gains ground by emphasizing petroleum development as a response to high gas prices. The second is dominated by the vice presidential selections. The third is dominated by the economic collapse, which the authors date to September. The fourth is McCain's last surge, followed by the final week in which voters seem reassured by Obama.
They want to argue that campaign messages make a significant difference in the outcome of the election. Certainly these messages seem to influence the day-to-day ups and downs, but it's not obvious that they affect the outcome: voters reject incumbents at time of economic collapse. It's also not clear what the counterfactual is (what if candidates had sent different messages) or what explains the messages. A good explanation of the messages might, or might not, make them entirely endogenous and thus epiphenomenal. The authors are not well-positioned to address these causal issues, especially in the absence of either strong theory or an empirical research design that can control for selection bias and endogeneity. If this paragraph makes sense to you, then the book will probably only frustrate you.
Overall, I'm hard-pressed to see why anyone would want to read this book. The kind of public opinion junkies who would be most interested will already know what's here. There's no novel argument or theory that would compel these junkies to pick up the book, though its wealth of tables and data would provide a useful reference to have on the shelf. For the general reader, the book is too focused on weekly minutiae to remain interesting, though it might have worked at about one-third the length.
One could get bogged down in this book, due to the fascinating and masterful presentation and control of the details. And the charts and numbers, complicated by the multiple demographic categories, will deter or discouraged some readers who might otherwise be interested in the streams and themes of the Obama-McCain campaign.
But the charts and graphs, while helpful to visualize that patterns and waves of influence and change through the months of the election campaign, can easily be passed over without impeding the value of the text.
These three authors make a seamless team to weave a complex tapestry of the forces and floods of media by both parties. It does get tedious, but you can make progress by taking advantage of the many and frequent headings and sub-headings guiding the reader through the 314p text. Additional careful documentation is included, adding a section of endnotes that provide further context and sourcing documentation.
The upshot of this careful study is that the way media was used and the amount of media exposure was indeed a major factor affecting the attitude and inclination of voters in every segment. The authors provide clear explanations of what demographic groups were most swayed by what kinds of themes or what type of media.
One aspect that won't surprise the observant reader is the key role lies ( to be blunt about it), otherwise referred too as deception or falsehood, used by both candidate teams and parties in their ads. Positions were twisted, statement or claims were pulled out of context to conclude something unrelated and claim this was what the candidate believed or said.
It was interesting to see the role of media in regard to perceptions of Governor Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee. There were high doubts among the broad public about her competence and readiness for such an office, and confidence fell as the campaign progressed.
Key events in her downward momentum were the Katie Couric interview and the Saturday Night Live parody of it by Tina Fey, even though the governor herself made an appearance on SNL and participated with Fey and others in political satire. The negative perception of Palin was seemingly the greatest factor that drug down the McCain ticket.
Another important factor was the amount of media, determined by the funding available. The Obama campaign refused to accept government funding and was able to raise an extensive funding base, outspending McCain by more than McCain received from the government for his campaign.
If you are serious about understanding how campaigns work, and how media of all kinds are used in the Presidential campaigns, read this book.
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This read a bit like a campaign report diary and not so much like a...Read more