"Game changer." We heard it so many times during the 2012 U.S.
presidential election. But what actually made a difference in the
contest--and what was just hype? In this groundbreaking book, John
Sides and Lynn Vavreck tell the dramatic story of the
election--with a big difference. Using an unusual "moneyball"
approach, they look beyond the anecdote, folklore, and conventional
wisdom that often pass for election analysis. Instead, they draw on
extensive quantitative data about the economy, public opinion, news
coverage, and political advertising to separate what was truly
important from what was irrelevant. Combining this data with the
best social science research and colorful on-the-ground reporting,
they provide the most accurate and precise account of the election
yet written--and the only book of its kind.
Which mattered more--Barack Obama's midsummer ad blitz or the
election year's economic growth? How many voters actually changed
their minds--and was it ever enough to sway the outcome? The
Gamble answers important questions like these by looking at
the interplay between the candidates' strategic choices--the ads,
speeches, rallies, and debates--and the chance circumstances of the
election, especially the economy. In the Republican primary, the
book shows, the electioneering and the media's restless attention
did matter, producing a string of frontrunners. But when Obama and
Mitt Romney finally squared off in the general election, there were
few real game-changers. The candidates' billion-dollar campaigns
were important but largely cancelled each other out, opening the
way for Obama to do what incumbents usually do when running amid
even modest economic growth: win.
An election book unlike any other, The Gamble is a
must-read for political junkies, analysts, journalists,
consultants, and academics.
Subjects: Political Science
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