The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004

The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004

The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004

The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004

Synopsis

The Electoral College has played an important role in presidential politics since our nation's founding, but surprisingly little information exists about precisely how it affects campaign strategy. Daron R. Shaw, a scholar who also worked as a strategist in both Bush-Cheney campaigns, has written the first book to go inside the past two presidential elections and reveal how the race to 270 was won- and lost.

Shaw's nonpartisan study lays out how both the Democrats and the Republicans developed strategies to win decisive electoral votes by targeting specific states and media markets. Drawing on his own experience with Republican battle plans, candidate schedules, and advertising purchases- plus key contacts in the Gore and Kerry camps- Shaw goes on to show that both sides used information on weekly shifts in candidate support to reallocate media buys and schedule appearances. Most importantly, he uses strikingly original research to prove that these carefully constructed plans significantly affected voters' preferences and opinions- not in huge numbers, but enough to shift critical votes in key battlegrounds.

Bridging the gap between those who study campaigns and those who conduct them, The Race to 270 will provide political scientists and practitioners alike with fresh insights about the new strategies that stem from one of our oldest institutions.

Excerpt

We knew this would be a tough fight, but the important thing right now is
confidence in who we are and all that we have done up to this point. Trust the
candidate. Trust the campaign.

KARL ROVE, to the Bush campaign staff the morning after the 2000 New
Hampshire primary

This is a different kind of book. It is neither wholly academic nor journalistic. It draws heavily on my education and experience as a social scientist as well as on observations gleaned from my involvement in presidential campaigns. At its core, it is a book that attempts to bridge the gap between those who study campaigns and those who do campaigns. The perspectives of both academics and practitioners are called upon to shed light on two particular topics: the intent and the effect of presidential campaigns. The central argument is that campaigns affect voters and electorates. Documenting and characterizing these effects, however, requires greater strategic insight and better empirical data than have heretofore been brought to bear.

Both professional and personal factors drive this effort. Professionally, I have noticed a recent shift in the attitudes of campaign consultants and political scientists toward each other. Do not read too much into this observation. Consultants still profess disdain for academics. A Democratic . . .

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