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African Leadership Transitions Tracker

March 30, 2015 Comments off

African Leadership Transitions Tracker
Source: Brookings Institution

The African Leadership Transitions Tracker (ALTT) is an interactive feature that factually recounts and visually presents changes at the head of state level in every African country from independence or end of the colonial period to the present. The interactive application aims to start a broader conversation about leadership transitions and what they mean for the region and beyond.

The ALTT does not intend to validate the nature of transitions. However, it looks at the process of competition and the contestability of transitions over time in order to highlight key trends.

For example a multiparty election is defined in the tracker as one in which “two or more political parties have affiliated candidates competing in an election.” Only military coups that lead to a change in leadership are presented.

Partisan Differences in the Distributional Effects of Economic Growth: Stock Market Performance, Unemployment, and Political Control of the Presidency

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Partisan Differences in the Distributional Effects of Economic Growth: Stock Market Performance, Unemployment, and Political Control of the Presidency
Source: Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties

This article examines the differences in the distributional effects of economic growth. While all incumbents are incentivized to create economic growth in order to win reelection, they use a diverse variety of policies to achieve this growth. These policy choices are often congruent with the demands of the core constituent groups of the respective parties. This suggests that economic growth is not equally shared by all, but that some groups are more or less benefited from the sets of policies chosen by the incumbent parties to stimulate growth. We test this proposition by investigating the effects of economic growth on stock market performance and unemployment. Our results show that economic growth under Republican presidents has a stronger effect on stimulating stock market performance, while economic growth under Democratic presidents has a stronger effect on reducing unemployment. Overall, these results highlight the partisan differences in macroeconomic policy and illustrate one of the causal mechanisms behind the substantial and rising economic inequality in the USA.

CRS — Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns (March 3, 2015)

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress is faced with determining whether it wants public financing of presidential campaigns to continue and, if so, how. The 113th Congress and President Obama chose to eliminate part of the program—public funding for nominating conventions—in April 2014 via P.L. 113-94 (H.R. 2019). Barring a change in the status quo, the 2016 conventions will be the first entirely privately financed since 1972. Public matching funds and grants remain in place for candidates who choose to participate. There is, however, a consensus even among supporters that the presidential public financing program is antiquated and offers insufficient benefits to attract the most competitive candidates. No major candidate accepted public funds in 2012. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama became the first person, since the public financing program’s inception, elected President without accepting any public funds. For some, these developments signal an urgent need to save the public campaign financing program that has existed since the 1970s; for others, they suggest that the program is unnecessary.

Israel’s politics in the run-up to the elections

March 12, 2015 Comments off

Israel’s politics in the run-up to the elections
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

In December 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called early national elections, scheduled for 17 March 2015, after dissolving the coalition arrangement underpinning the government formed after the January 2013 elections. Differences on Palestinian issues and budgetary matters, between Netanyahu, of the right-wing Likud party, and centrist parties in his coalition, reportedly contributed to the decision. Israel’s positions on a host of regional security and socioeconomic issues could be influenced by the election results.

Are Changing Constituencies Driving Rising Polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives?

February 18, 2015 Comments off

Are Changing Constituencies Driving Rising Polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Source: RAND Corporation

This report addresses two questions: first, whether the spatial distribution of the American electorate has become more geographically clustered over the last 40 years with respect to party voting and socioeconomic attributes; and second, whether this clustering process has contributed to rising polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives. We find support for both hypotheses and estimate that long-term geographical clustering of voters is responsible for roughly 30 percent of the increase in polarization in the House between the 93rd and 112th Congresses. An important ancillary finding is that the within-district percentage of adults who are married dwarfs other socioeconomic variables — including those measuring race, education, income, and urbanicity — as a predictor of local partisanship, as measured by both the party affiliation of the House representative and the presidential vote share.

Big business crushed ballot measures in 2014

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Big business crushed ballot measures in 2014
Source: Center for Public Integrity

Key findings:

  • More than three-quarters of the $266 million given by the top 50 donors to ballot measure groups nationwide ahead of the 2014 elections came from corporations or business trade groups.
  • Four out of every five dollars that the top contributing business groups gave to ballot measure fights went to the sides trying to defeat the proposals.
  • Totaling $88 million, health care groups gave more than any industry among the top 50 donors. Casino companies were a close second, giving nearly $60 million across the nation to 2014 ballot measure fights.
  • Five of the top 50 ballot measure contributors also gave big for elective office and were among the top 50 donors to races for state-level candidates: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, the California Democratic Party and the National Education Association teachers union.

The Air War versus The Ground Game: An Analysis of Multi-Channel Marketing in US Presidential Elections

January 30, 2015 Comments off

The Air War versus The Ground Game: An Analysis of Multi-Channel Marketing in US Presidential Elections
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Firms increasingly use both mass-media advertising and targeted personal selling to successfully promote products and brands in the marketplace. In this study, we jointly examine the effect of mass-media advertising and personal selling in the context of U.S. presidential elections, where the former is referred to as the “air war” and the latter the “ground game.” Specifically, we look at how different types of advertising―candidates’ own ads vs. outside ads―and personal selling―in the form of utilizing field offices―affect voter preferences. Further, we ask how these various campaign activities affect the outcome of elections through their diverse effects on various types of people. We find that personal selling has a stronger effect among partisan voters, while candidates’ own advertising is better received by non-partisans. We also find that personal selling accounted for the Democratic victories in the 2008 and 2012 elections and that advertising was critical only in a close election, such as the one in 2004. Interestingly, had the Democrats received more outside advertising in 2004, the election would have ended up in a 269-269 tie. Our findings generate insights on how to allocate resources across and within channels.

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