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Optimal Campaigning in Presidential Elections: The Probability of Being Florida

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  • Strömberg, David
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    Abstract

    This Paper delivers a precise recommendation for how presidential candidates should allocate their resources to maximize the probability of gaining a majority in the Electoral College. A two-candidate, probabilistic-voting model reveals that more resources should be devoted to states which are likely to be decisive in the Electoral College and, at the same time, have very close state elections. The optimal strategies are empirically estimated using state-level opinion polls available in September of the election year. The model’s recommended campaign strategies closely resemble those used in actual campaigns. The Paper also analyses how the allocation of resources would change under the alternative electoral rule of a direct national vote for president.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3372.

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    Date of creation: May 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3372

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    Keywords: elections; political campaigns; public expenditure;

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    1. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    2. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 30-38, February.
    3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    4. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
    5. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
    6. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
    7. John Joseph Wallis, 1996. "What Determines the Allocation of National Government Grants to the States?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics With Rational Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 2051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Holbrook, Thomas M. & DeSart, Jay A., 1999. "Using state polls to forecast presidential election outcomes in the American states," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 137-142, April.
    10. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
    11. Nagler, Jonathan & Leighley, Jan, 1992. " Presidential Campaign Expenditures: Evidence on Allocations and Effects," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 319-33, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2006. "The Effects of Partisan Alignment on the Allocation of Intergovernmental Transfers. Differences-in-Differences Estimates for Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 1855, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Khemani, Stuti, 2007. "Does delegation of fiscal policy to an independent agency make a difference? Evidence from intergovernmental transfers in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 464-484, March.
    3. Ray C. Fair, 2006. "Interpreting the Predictive Uncertainty of Presidential Elections," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000427, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Ray C. Fair, 2004. "Predicting Electoral College Victory Probabilities from State Probability Data," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1496, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Ray C. Fair, 2006. "Interpreting the Predictive Uncertainty of Elections," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1579, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 2007.
    6. ALDASHEV, Gani, 2006. "Political information acquisition for social exchange," CORE Discussion Papers 2006020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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