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Johnston, Hagen, and Jamieson: Dynamics of the 2000 presidential campaign

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online.

Johnston, Hagen, and Jamieson. 2001. Dynamics of the 2000 presidential campaign: Evidence from the Annenberg Survey.. APSA conference.

Overview

The Annenberg studies of the 2000 presidential campaign show that our current theories of campaigns are somewhat lacking. Largely an exploratory paper with some preliminary conclusions.

Data

The Annenberg survey took daily random samples from July through November. Smoothing the data (Fig 1) make it possible to investigate the moments in the campaign where things changed. Obviously, there were daily spikes and drops in Gore's support, but, when smoothed, 7 shifts appear to have been permanent (expressed in terms of Gore's support):

  1. The drop after Bush's acceptance speech,
  2. The surge before the Dem convention,
  3. The surge after Gore's acceptance speech,
  4. Gore's mid-September surge,
  5. Gore's late-September (small) drop,
  6. Gore's surge after the last debate,
  7. and Gore's (small) drop about a week later.

Theoretical Explanations

The authors use advanced stats to differentiate variables with a time-series (longitudinal) effect from those with only a cross-sectional effect.

Speculation

The authors speculate that, of the 7 shifts in Gore's support, shifts 4, 6, and 7 suggest that the media matter. Something in the media or in political ads must have triggered that shift, perhaps by first triggering the changes in Gore's (and Bush's) perceived character qualities.

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Tags

Johnston, Richard (author)Hagen, Michael (author)Jamieson, Kathleen Hall (author)Political ScienceAmerican PoliticsVotingPartisanshipPublic OpinionMedia EffectsDecision Making

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