The Compleat Politician: Political Strategy in Massachusetts

The Compleat Politician: Political Strategy in Massachusetts

The Compleat Politician: Political Strategy in Massachusetts

The Compleat Politician: Political Strategy in Massachusetts

Excerpt

Strange as it may seem, American political scientists know considerably less about the process by which candidates attempt to win elections than they do about the political attitudes and behavior of American voters during campaigns. There has, of course, been much journalistic writing on the subject, but the ways in which candidates solicit campaign funds, gather public-opinion information, bring pressures to bear on convention delegates, forge coalitions of politically influential people, and resolve problems of political strategy have rarely been studied systematically. This book is concerned largely with candidates, campaign managers, public-relations men, pollsters, and fund raisers, and their attempts to elect a governor of Massachusetts in 1960.

During the summer and autumn of 1960, the authors interviewed the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates or their advisers in an attempt to discover how they formulated political strategy for the primary and general election campaigns. Before the primary and after the general election, the authors interviewed a random sample of voters to determine the political attitudes of certain groups in the electorate and their reactions to the strategies designed by the politicians. By comparing these two sets of data, we were able to appraise the accuracy of the candidates' assumptions concerning public opinion and how it can be shaped.

The reader must regard our conclusions as tentative, for they are . . .

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