Presentation Title

Nationalize or Localize: Senatorial Incumbent and Challenger Differences in Issue Prioritization

Location

Guzman 110

Start Date

4-19-2018 3:20 PM

End Date

4-19-2018 3:35 PM

Department

Political Science and International Studies

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor

Gigi Gokcek, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

How do politicians choose which issues to discuss in an election? Studying campaign behavior is important to understanding how political campaigns target voters and prioritize issues. Senate candidates normally attempt to either nationalize the election or emphasize state issues in their campaigns. How do Senate incumbent and challenger candidates differ in terms of issue prioritization? I hypothesize the challengers attempt to nationalize the election, while the incumbents generally focus their efforts on state issues. Political conventional wisdom indicates challengers typically try to nationalize the election by attempting to criticize the incumbent for either supporting or voting against the current presidential administration. In contrast, incumbents tend to focus on state issues because they have the ability to claim credit for work done in their state, and usually know their constituency better than the challenger. However, current literature is inconclusive, therefore requiring further research. This study is qualitative and uses content analysis to examine political ads from five different senate elections in 2014: Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Alaska. The data is compelling as it reflects trends during a midterm election of a second term presidency in which the constituents appear to be rising against the current party in power.

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Apr 19th, 3:20 PM Apr 19th, 3:35 PM

Nationalize or Localize: Senatorial Incumbent and Challenger Differences in Issue Prioritization

Guzman 110

How do politicians choose which issues to discuss in an election? Studying campaign behavior is important to understanding how political campaigns target voters and prioritize issues. Senate candidates normally attempt to either nationalize the election or emphasize state issues in their campaigns. How do Senate incumbent and challenger candidates differ in terms of issue prioritization? I hypothesize the challengers attempt to nationalize the election, while the incumbents generally focus their efforts on state issues. Political conventional wisdom indicates challengers typically try to nationalize the election by attempting to criticize the incumbent for either supporting or voting against the current presidential administration. In contrast, incumbents tend to focus on state issues because they have the ability to claim credit for work done in their state, and usually know their constituency better than the challenger. However, current literature is inconclusive, therefore requiring further research. This study is qualitative and uses content analysis to examine political ads from five different senate elections in 2014: Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Alaska. The data is compelling as it reflects trends during a midterm election of a second term presidency in which the constituents appear to be rising against the current party in power.