Presidential Campaign Quality: What the Variance Implies



Preoccupation with presidential election results has yielded benign but regrettable neglect of other important election campaign outcomes. One important example is campaign quality, which the author defines in terms of preelection behavior that can invite or discourage two kinds of political-system enhancing postelection results: problem-solving energy (policy signals) and citizen allegiance (regime support). Here, the author uses measures of these concepts and resulting data to show how campaigns vary significantly in quality. Evidence from the 1988, 1992, and 1996 presidential elections suggests that variation in voter demand best accounts for differences in campaign quality.