What to be looking for this election cycle

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post points out that despite all the hullabaloo around the supreme Court decision, economic job reports, and media buys in swing states:

  1. The race is tight and stable. Obama’s job approval — which is in the 46-48 percent range — basically hasn’t budged since January. …
  2. The corollary to that point is that the number of persuadable voters is very low. …
  3. The small ranks of persuadable voters are not going to be easy to persuade. …
  4. The campaign is unlikely to break hard in a particular direction. …

He then asks:

For all that, we’ve still got four months until the election. Four months in which we’re going to be covering the campaign also nonstop. So help me out here: What’s going to matter between now and then?

Political scientist John Sides (who co-authored the textbook I’m assigning in my Parties, Campaigns, and Elections course this fall) answers:

  1. Economic trends in July, August, and September – the better the economy does the better for Obama.
  2. How much the candidates spend on advertising. However – it’ll have a substantive impact only if one candidate vastly outspends the other AND only if it happens within a month of the election. Ads right now likely don’t make much of a difference.
  3. The effectiveness of each campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort.

Both articles available here in full:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/10/what-matters-between-now-and-the-election/

http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2012/07/10/what-matters-between-now-and-the-election/

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