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Keywords:

  • Parties;
  • Elections;
  • Campaigns;
  • Voting Behavior;
  • Public Opinion;
  • Political Parties;
  • Primary Elections;
  • 2008 U.S. Presidential Election;
  • Candidate Selection;
  • Candidate Evaluation

The fact that political parties hold competitive nomination contests that require voters to choose among multiple candidates leaves open the possibility that the contest itself could damage the prospects of an eventual nominee. In this study, we employ the American National Election Study panel survey data from the 2008 U.S. presidential election to assess the impact of the Democratic Party nomination process on candidate evaluations and general election vote preference. We find evidence that Barack Obama had greater difficulty uniting his party than his Republican counterpart due to the fact that Clinton voters were slow to coalesce around Obama. These supporters failed to report higher levels of favorability until Clinton conceded the race in the summer, while Huckabee and Romney voters were seen rallying to their party's nominee in the spring. In the end, many Clinton primary voters either abstained from voting in November or crossed over to support the Republican nominee.

El hecho de que los partidos políticos realicen contiendas de nominaciones competitivas que exijan a los votantes elegir entre múltiples candidatos crea la posibilidad de que la contienda en sí misma perjudique las expectativas del candidato ganador. En este estudio, empleamos datos de una encuesta de ANES sobre las elecciones presidenciales del 2008 en los Estados Unidos para determinar el impacto del proceso de nominación presidencial del Partido Demócrata en la evaluación de los candidatos y las preferencias electorales generales. Encontramos evidencia de que Barack Obama tuvo una mayor dificultad unificando su partido que su equivalente Republicano debido a que partidarios de Clinton fueron lentos en sumarse a Obama. Estos partidarios no reportaron altos niveles de apoyo hasta que Clinton confirió la contienda en el verano, mientras que partidarios de Huckabee y Romney se concentraron en el candidato de su partido desde la primavera. Al final, muchos votantes adeptos a Clinton se abstuvieron de votar en noviembre o decidieron apoyar al candidato Republicano.