U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook

By James W. Davis | Go to book overview

can contact more than a thousand people an hour, with the ultimate goal of reaching sometimes hundreds of thousands of households.

With the new technology of computer-aided telephoning and target selection, push polling is very cost-effective. "A single operator can make 80 to 100 completed calls with a short message each evening hour at a cost (depending on message length) of $0.45 to $1.30 per call," according to Sabato and Simpson. 35 Thus, 250,000 targeted calls can be made for $112,000 to $325,000--a bargain in the eyes of most political professionals.

In the heat of battle, especially in a multicandidate field, presidential candidates are forced to pull out all the stops to win. Push polls, in some cases, have become effective campaign weapons. The American voting public, especially in nominating races, has seen only the opening chapter of this aspect of shady politics.


NOTES
1.
James R. Beniger, "Polls and Primaries," in Presidential Primaries: Road to the White House, ed. James W. Davis, 2nd ed. ( Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980), p. 120.
2.
Gallup Opinion Index, no. 133 ( August 1976): 67.
3.
Gallup Opinion Index, no. 173 ( December 1979).
4.
New York Times, February 28, 1984.
5.
New York Times, January 23, 1996.
6.
Newsweek 127 ( March 4, 1996): 25.
7.
Davis, Presidential Primaries: Road to the White House, p. 81.
8.
James W. Beniger and Robert J. Giuffra Jr., "Public Opinion Polling: Command and Control in Presidential Campaigns," in Presidential Selection, ed. Alexander Heard and Michael Nelson ( Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1987), p. 198.
9.
Charles W. Roll Jr., and Albert H. Cantril, Polls: Their Use and Misuse in Politics ( New York: Basic Books, 1972), p. 23, as quoted in ibid., pp. 28, 199.
10.
Herbert E. Alexander and Brian Haggerty, Financing the 1984 Election ( Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1987), p. 249.
11.
Beniger and Giuffra, "Public Opinion Polling," p. 206.
14.
"How He Won: The Untold Story of Bill Clinton's Triumph," Newsweek, Special Election Issue ( November-December 1992): 40-41.
15.
Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Blue Smoke and Mirrors: How Reagan Won and Why Carter Lost the 1980 Election ( New York: Viking, 1981), p. 108.
16.
New York Times, January 5, 1995.
17.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 7, 1996.
18.
Wall Street Journal, February 8, 1996.
19.
New York Times, January 30, 1995.

-170-

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U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Presidential Nominations-- American Style 1
  • Introduction 8
  • 2 - History of Presidential Nominations (1789-1968) 9
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Party Reform 20
  • Notes 32
  • 4 - Presidential Primaries in the Postreform Era (1972-1996) 34
  • Notes 44
  • 5 - The Caucus-Convention System 45
  • Notes 57
  • 6 - National Convention Delegate Selection Before and After Mcgovern-Fraser Reforms 59
  • Notes 66
  • 7 - Who Are the Delegates? 67
  • Notes 81
  • 8 - Nominating Strategies 83
  • Summary 98
  • Notes 99
  • 9 - Nominating Finance 101
  • Notes 122
  • 10 - Supreme Court Decisions and Presidential Nominations 125
  • Notes 132
  • 11 - Primaries, Caucuses, and the Mass Media 134
  • Notes 144
  • 12 - Primary Debates 146
  • Notes 155
  • 13 - Polls and Primaries 157
  • Notes 170
  • 14 - Voter Participation in Primaries and Caucuses 172
  • Notes 192
  • 15 - Proposed National Primary 195
  • Notes 205
  • 16 - Regional Primaries 206
  • Notes 213
  • 17 - National Preprimary Convention Plan and Other Recent Reform Proposals 215
  • Notes 221
  • 18 - National Nominating Conventions 223
  • Notes 251
  • 19 - Presidential Nominations: The Perot Model 254
  • Notes 261
  • Appendixes 263
  • Glossary 269
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 283
  • About the Author 295
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