Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions

By Susan J. Carroll | Go to book overview

2 Campaign Strategy

Joan E. McLean

With more women running for public office, developing a richer understanding of how gender affects campaign strategy is critical. Findings produced by research on this topic would be valuable not only to scholars studying women in politics, but also to practitioners working for women candidates. More systematic studies are needed that capture campaign dynamics from inside the campaign, that is, from the perspective of the candidate and her advisors. By exploring the internal dynamics of political campaigns, researchers can identify the extent to which various strategic and tactical moves are successful in overcoming a myriad of political obstacles that naturally emerge over the course of a campaign.

This chapter describes a possible research agenda for studying campaign strategy. The five topics explored are campaign decision-making, staffing patterns, media strategy, campaign fund raising, and voter targeting. For each topic, possible research questions are presented.


Campaign Decision-Making

Most of the research about women and political decision-making focuses on the way women make decisions once in office. These works suggest that women officeholders are more likely than their male counterparts to employ decision-making styles that are collegial rather than hierarchical or competitive in nature (Carroll, Dodson, and Mandel 1991 ; Flammang 1985 ; Johnson and Carroll 1978 ; Rossi 1983 ; Thomas 1994). Flammang found that when women became a majority on a local government board, they developed “a common understanding of power, not as force and domination, but as cooperation based on consensus and mutual respect, features of their homemaking and childrearing experiences which challenge the practices of male politics as usual” (1985, 115). In the 1990s, women's inclusive style of “doing” politics was often promoted as a reason for electing more women to public office. Carroll,

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Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Women and American Politics iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures ix
  • List of Contributors x
  • References 25
  • Part I Running for Public Office 31
  • 1: Accounting for Women's Political Involvement 33
  • References 49
  • 2: Campaign Strategy 53
  • References 68
  • 3: Money and Women's Candidacies for Public Office 72
  • References 85
  • Part II Other Aspects of Women's Participation in Electoral Politics 87
  • 4: The Impact of Women in Political Leadership Positions 89
  • 5: Women, Women's Organizations, and Political Parties 111
  • References 141
  • 6: The Gender Gap 146
  • References 166
  • Part III New Directions in Women and Politics Research 171
  • 7: Assessing the Media's Impact on the Political Fortunes of Women 173
  • References 187
  • 8: A Portrait of Continuing Marginality 190
  • References 210
  • 9: Broadening the Study of Women's Participation 214
  • References 229
  • Index 237
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