Tucker, P.D., Smith, S.S. (2020). Changes in Candidate Evaluations over the Campaign Season: A Comparison of House, Senate, and Presidential Races. Political Behavior. DOI: 10.1007/s11109-020-09603-8
How do citizens’ preferences for candidates change during a campaign season? For the first time, this panel study examines how citizens’ preferences for candidates change during the general election campaign season for House, Senate, and presidential elections, which vary widely in their salience and contestedness. House races exhibit the greatest mean change in candidate evaluations and presidential races exhibit the least. At the individual level, there is considerable variation across the three types of contest in the presence of a candidate preference and in change over the campaign season. We investigate differences across the three types of races in initial familiarity with candidates and estimate transition models to evaluate the effect of race contestedness, partisanship, presidential approval, political sophistication and knowledge on change in candidate preferences in each type of race. Change in knowledge of the candidates during the campaign season has the greatest effect in House contests, where initial familiarity with the candidates is the most limited.
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9-020-09603 -8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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