POL-245: Political Parties and Elections

      In this course we study American campaigns and elections. The course is taught in spring semester of even-numbered years, which means that there are campaigns going on at the time. So our discussions are informed, so to speak, by our own lab rats who are running around the country trying to get elected!

      Each student will participate in a congressional election simulation, taking the role of candidate, campaign manager, media consultant, press secretary, data analyst, researcher, print or broadcast journalist.  We will also study statistical analysis of electoral behavior with the help of a web-based data analysis system.

      Political Parties and Elections satisfies the "advanced American politics" requirement for political science majors and minors. It may also be applied towards a major in American Studies, and to secondary school teaching endorsement in American government.

Elections Links

The American National Election Survey at the University of Michigan has data going back to 1948

Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections has maps, with county-by-county results (some content is by subscription only, but a lot of good free stuff)

Very fine electoral maps and slide shows from University of Richmond

Information on current elections:

View campaign ads from past presidential elections

The Commission on Presidential Debates

General information about elections, with advocacy of specific reforms: fairvote.org

Pew Research Center for The People and the Press: includes media attention data since 1986

Parties on the Web:

  • Democratic Party
  • Republican Party
  • Reform Party
  •                          REQUIRED TEXTS (SPRING 2014)
            William H. Flanigan and Nancy H. Zingale, Political Behavior of the 
    American Electorate
    (CQ Press, 13th ed., 2014)
            Charles Prysby and Carmine Scavo, Voting Behavior: The 2012 Election
    (American Political Science Assn, 2009): online at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/instructors/setups2012/index.jsp
    James A. Thurber and Candice J. Nelson (eds), Campaigns and Elections American Style: Transforming American Politics
    (Westview, 4th ed., 2014)
                             COURSE SCHEDULE

    Course introduction
    Introduction to congressional election simulation: Thurber/Nelson 1
    Strategy: Thurber/Nelson 2
    Survey research: Thurber/Nelson 3
    Media: Thurber/Nelson 6
    Fieldwork: Thurber/Nelson 9
    Digital networks: Thurber/Nelson 8
    2012 case studies: Thurber/Nelson 13
    Debriefing: Thurber/Nelson 14

    The Elections of 2008 and  2010: Prysby/Scavo 1
    Voter Turnout: Flanigan/Zingale 3
    Survey Research and the ANES: Prysby/Scavo 3
    Party Identification: Flanigan/Zingale 4 pt 1
    Party as Independent Variable: Flanigan/Zingale 4 pt 2
    Party as Dependent Variable: Flanigan/Zingale 6
    EXAM I

    Analyzing Data: Prysby/Scavo 5
    Voting Behavior: Flanigan/Zingale 8, Prysby/Scavo 2
    Political Culture: Flanigan/Zingale 1
    Public Opinion and Ideology: Flanigan/Zingale 5
    Media Impact:  Flanigan/Zingale 7

    Next Course: The American Congress

    Last Course: Religion and American Politics

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    last update 12/23/13