Presidential Elections

Key words from the presidential election section of the paper

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Invisible Primary

  • The period between candidates declaring an intention to run for the presidency and the first contests of the primary session.
  • It is said to be critically important for a candidate to gain name recognition and money and to put together necessary organisation.
  • There is often a high correlation between who wins the invisible primary and who actually wins the presidential nomination, though not in 2007-08
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Presidential Primary

  • a state-based election to choose a party's candidate for the presidency.
  • a presidential primary shows support for a candidate among ordinary voters and chooses delegates committed to vote for that candidate at the National Party Convention
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Presidential Caucus

  • a state-based series of meetings for the selection of party's candidate for the presidency.
  • held in a few geographically large but thinly populated states
  • caucuses attract unrepresentative and very low turnouts
  • they fulfil the same functions as primaries
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Super Tuesday

  • a Tuesday in early February when a number of states coincide their presidential primaries in order to try to gain influence for their region in the selection of major party presidential candidates
  • held on the Feb 5th 2008
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Front Loading

  • the phenomenon by which an increasing number of states schedule their presidential primaries or caucuses earlier in the cycle.
  • this is an attempt to increase the importance of their state in choosing major party presidential candidates
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Closed Primary

  • a primary election in which only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary
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Open Primary

  • a primary election in which any registered voter can vote in the primary of either party
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Factors affecting 2000 election

  • GOP unity
  • Gore's policy position
  • Distancing from Clinton
  • Florida Scandal
  • Nader (independent taking Democrat votes)
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Factors affecting 2004 election

  • 9/11 (support for a war time president)
  • effective attacks on Kerry
  • Karl Rove
  • Evangelical voters
  • Moral values
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Factors affecting 2008 election

  • Economy
  • 8 years of Bush
  • Distancing from Bush
  • Differentiating the GOP ticket
  • McCain's age
  • Palin
  • Obama campaign
  • Obama's policies
  • Obama's war chest
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Typical Democrat Voter

  • female
  • African-American
  • from cities
  • young
  • less religious
  • Hispanic
  • poorer
  • from Northeast
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Typical Republican Voter

  • male
  • old
  • white
  • religious
  • from South
  • wealthy
  • from rural areas
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Long Term Voting Behaviour

  • party affiliation
  • gender
  • race
  • religion
  • age
  • wealth
  • geographical region
  • population area
  • policies
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Criticisms of the Presidential Election- Nominatio

  • money
  • media
  • length
  • frontloading
  • Super Tuesday
  • money
  • raiding
  • intra-party conflict
  • lack of significance
  • media focus
  • superficial
  • don't perform their functions
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Criticisms of the Presidential Election- Election

  • attack ads- negative
  • expensive
  • importance of campaign finance
  • attempts at reform (FECA, BCRA)
  • not successful
  • Electoral College
  • Turnout
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Presidential Debates

  • debates held between the two party presidential candidates
  • usually 3 in number
  • occur during September & October
  • traditionally 1 debate between the 2 vice-presidential candidates
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Gender Gap

  • The gap between the support given to a candidate by women & the support given to the same candidate by men
  • women tend to support Democratic candidates more than men and vice versa
  • this was especially noticeable in the 1992 and 1996 elections
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Electoral College

  • the institution established by the Founding Fathers to elect the president indirectly
  • the Electoral College never meets
  • the presidential Electors who make up the Electoral College meet in their state capitals to cast ballots for president & vice president
  • a candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes to win
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