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Elections and voting ­ presidential
Stage Functions Occurs
Primaries and caucuses Show popular support for candidates January ­ early June
Choose delegates to attend National
Party Conventions
National Party Conventions Choose presidential candidate August/September (each last about
Choose vice presidential candidate 4 days)
Decide on party platform
General election campaign…

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a high correlation between who wins the invisible primary and who actually wins the presidential
nomination, also nor in 07/08
Serious candidates may get publicity in newspapers and weeklies such as Time, Washington Post
Support is shown in opinion polls- in 2007 they ran head to head match ups which…

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There are also modified primaries which are like closed primaries but registered independents can vote in either
party primary. For example, in the New Jersey primary in 2008, registered Republicans could vote in the
Republican primary, registered Democrats could vote in the Democrat primary and independents could vote in

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Widespread voter apathy and boredom ­ in a year where the incumbent the president is running for re
election and therefore only one party has a genuine nomination contest, turnout in elections is only 17%
Primary voters are unrepresentative of the voting age population ­ primary voters tend to be…

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National Party Conventions

The meeting held once every 4 years by each of the major and some minor parties to select their
presidential and vice presidential candidates and write a party platform
Each evening of a convention will have a theme and a prime-time speaker. The first evening of the…

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Limited candidates expenditure to $10 million in the primaries and a further $20 million in the general
election which are index linked to inflation
Provided matching funds from federal tax-payers on a dollar to dollar basis for contributions up to $250
Established the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce and…

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McCain suffered in 2008 from the perceived negativity in his campaign with 31% feeling he had been
explaining and 61% thought he had been attacking. 63% thought Obama had been explaining and only
25% thought he had been attacking

Televised presidential debates
Debates held between the two major party presidential…

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Why Obama won in 2008

The two term itch
Only twice since the Civil war have Americans elected a president from the same party as a president
who has completed two full terms one being in 1988 when George H W Bush followed Reagan
George W Bush
George W Bush…

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Criticisms of the Electoral College system
Small states are over represented
By 2004 California had 55 Electoral College votes representing its 34 million inhabitants, Wyoming had three
Electoral votes representing its half a million inhabitants
Therefore in California there is one electoral college vote for 617,000 people and Wyoming receives…


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