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Optimal Campaigning in Presidential Elections: The Probability of Being Florida

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  • Strömberg, David

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Strömberg, David, 2002. "Optimal Campaigning in Presidential Elections: The Probability of Being Florida," CEPR Discussion Papers 3372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3372
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The size and scope of government:: Comparative politics with rational politicians," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 699-735, April.
    7. Gelman, Andrew & King, Gary, 1993. "Why Are American Presidential Election Campaign Polls So Variable When Votes Are So Predictable?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 409-451, October.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, January.
    11. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-660, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2008. "The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2302-2319, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Larcinese, Valentino & Snyder, Jr., James M. & Testa, Cecilia, 2006. "Testing models of distributive politics using exit polls to measure voter preferences and partisanship," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3605, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Wang, Samuel S.-H., 2015. "Origins of Presidential poll aggregation: A perspective from 2004 to 2012," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 898-909.
    5. 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.
    6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutions and Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 75-98, Winter.
    7. Stephen Ansolabehere & James M. Snyder, 2006. "Party Control of State Government and the Distribution of Public Expenditures," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 547-569, December.
    8. Aldashev, Gani, 2010. "Political Information Acquisition for Social Exchange," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, April.
    9. Ray C. Fair, 2006. "Interpreting the Predictive Uncertainty of Presidential Elections," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000427, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; political campaigns; public expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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