How Economics Influence Behavior Essay

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The United States of America is a democracy where presidents and congress representatives are elected through political campaigns. A general definition of campaign says that a campaign is an organized effort, which seeks to influence the decision-making processes within specific groups. According to Farrell and Schmitt-Beck, there are two main types of campaigns in the United States: election campaign and referendum or initiative campaign. Election campaign can be characterized by a set of competing candidates or parties, each campaigning on the range of issues. The core objective of parties and their candidates is the success at elections and the chance to occupy a government. Referendum and initiative campaigns are very similar in nature to election campaigns; however, they are often focused on one issue. Election and referendum campaigns are aimed at the mass public and are often considered the type of political communication that originates from parties, government institutions, or interests groups. The democratic theory states the most basic function of the campaign is to inform voters about the choices before them and mobilize citizen participation. If the democratic theory holds then the question “Do campaigns matter?” should be rephrased to “To what extend do campaigns matter?” While parties, candidates, interest groups, lobbyists, media, and some voters believe that campaigns matter to a certain degree, the collective views of the academic community, including Professor Shaw and Professor McDaniels, have divided options on the subject. In my opinion campaigns matter to a certain extent, although their contribution to the election’s outcome may still be outweighed by the factors like incumbency, party ID, or state of the economy. One might ask: “If campaigns matter, why they are so predicable?” To tackle this question, I will first discuss why the influence of a campaign is limited. Then I am going to give supporting arguments and consider the circumstances in which campaigns can matter.
As Professor Shaw indicated in the Lecture 25 of the American Government class, the outcome of the American presidential elections can be predicted within a few percentage points, based on the information available months before the election. Before the 2008 elections, a panel of political scientists, including statistician Nate Silver, predicted the exact outcome of the elections; thus, the average of their predictions was 53%, the exact number that Barack Obama got (O’Hara, 2012). Given this fact, the general election campaign for presidency seems irrelevant to the outcome, despite all media coverage of campaign strategy. Most of the time voters are so predictable because of party identification or party ID. Voters identify with one of the two major political parties, and the basic partisan loyalties influence the vote. Party identification influences how we see the world, process new information, and make political choices. A lot of times, no amount...

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