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Candidate Choice and the Dynamics of the Presidential Nominating Process

Larry M. Bartels
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 1-30
DOI: 10.2307/2111322
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111322
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Candidate Choice and the Dynamics of the Presidential Nominating Process
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Abstract

Data from the NES "rolling cross-section" survey are used to investigate the dynamics of popular support for Gary Hart during the 1984 primary season. A model is developed that relates preferences for Hart to an interaction between two key explanatory variables: predispositions to oppose Mondale (based on respondents' preexisting social and political characteristics) and perceptions of Hart's chances of winning the nomination (based on objective campaign events and "projection"). This interactive model accounts for aggregate trends in support for Hart better than an alternative model based directly on Hart and Mondale thermometer scores--in spite of the fact that the interactive model makes no use of any substantive evaluations of Hart! These results are used to address recurring questions regarding the role of "momentum" in the contemporary presidential nominating process. Some standard interpretations of the way the process works are shown to be inconsistent with the data or superfluous or both.

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