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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Do election campaigns matter? This chapter examines whether and how they do. It considers when they occur, what they do, and what effects they can have. Although candidates and parties would like to directly persuade individuals, it is difficult to detect those kinds of effects at the aggregate level since the effects are small and polling is imprecise. The chapter then introduces the “timeline” of elections and how we can observe preferences change and harden as the election approaches. This method allows us to test various hypotheses, such as whether political institutions matter for the evolution of electoral preferences over the timeline. The chapter concludes with a discussion of mobilization, which is a cost-effective way that campaigns can persuade people to vote who would not have otherwise.

Keywords: voters, persuasion, advertising, mobilization, timeline, polls

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