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Up Close and Personal: Campaign Contact and Candidate Spending in U. S. House Elections

Christopher Kenny and Michael McBurnett
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 75-96
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
DOI: 10.2307/449029
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/449029
Page Count: 22
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Up Close and Personal: Campaign Contact and Candidate Spending in U. S. House Elections
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Abstract

Very little evidence exists on which forms of voter contact have the greatest impact on election outcomes. In this article we attempt to assess systematically the effect of different forms of voter contact on congressional vote choice. By estimating a system of equations for spending and vote choice with three different forms of personal and media contact we are able to investigate how different forms of contact directly affect the vote choice as well as mediate the impact of candidate spending. We find that incumbents and challengers benefit differently from the different forms of contact. Challengers tend to get a bigger direct effect from contact in general probably because as a group they are less well known than incumbents. Incumbents, on the other hand, seem able to use contact through the media to maintain their advantage. Contact through television enhances the effect of spending to a much greater extent than is true for challengers, suggesting that incumbents who reach a large percentage of the electorate are difficult to beat.

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