The Economy And Presidential Elections Essay

978 words - 4 pages

Every time a presidential election rolls around it seems as if America wakes up from a deep sleep. For months we are engulfed in a never ending wave of political rhetoric. We hear about it on the radio, watch it on TV, we see it on the internet, billboards, and bumper stickers. Huge amounts of money are spent during the presidential campaign by both sides in hopes of gaining an advantage. Although the campaign can be exciting, it will usually not determine the winner. The outcome is determined more heavily by other factors, many of which are out of the candidates control. The campaign must be run in a context that is structured by these factors or it will be unsuccessful.(13) The campaign, ...view middle of the document...

The graph compares voting results of past elections with percent change in GDP. When the results are analyzed it is apparent that a strong connection exists between the incumbents share of the majority vote and economic growth. If the economy is growing the incumbent party will most likely be re-elected.(177) This brings us to another fundamental factor, incumbency advantage.
Throughout history, the possibility of incumbency has always weighed heavily on the outcome of a presidential election. In politics, the term is used to describe the advantage held by a candidate already in office. For example President Obama during the election of 2012. This political edge can be derived from a number of reasons including national attention, a presumption of success, and even risk aversion.(Weeks) Since the year 1990 our country has seen a number of presidential elections. Of these, only 5 incumbent presidents have run for re-election and lost, while on the other hand, 14 have succeeded. The bottom line is that incumbent presidents are hard to beat. (35)
The last fundamental factor I would like to mention is based on party ID. Many political scientists believe that voters have all the information they need to make a decision long before the campaign begins. This idea is called the minimal effects hypothesis. It is a theory that means political campaigns can only persuade voters to a certain extent.(3) In chapter 7 of The Gamble the authors analyze an interesting YouGov Poll that supports this hypothesis. The poll was held from December 2011 to election time in November 2012. The main objective was to measure party loyalty amongst decided voters. When the poll was initially taken, around 80% of both Republicans and Democrats said that they were going to vote for their party’s candidate. It was discovered that almost all of the decided voters stuck with their...

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