The Upside of the Long Campaign: How Presidential Elections Engage the Electorate

Kim Fridkin, Patrick Kenney, Amanda Wintersieck, Jill Carle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We theorize that the “long campaign” provides the impetus to motivate people to engage in campaign politics. We rely on panel survey data from the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project to evaluate the impact of a long presidential campaign on citizens’ political engagement. The panel provides us unique leverage to render the analysis fully dynamic and to minimize endogeneity issues because we determine temporal order for key concepts. We find that campaign contacts occurring during the primary significantly increase participation in the general election. We also find that exposure to advertisements during primaries translates to higher levels of voter engagement in the fall campaign. We demonstrate that attitudes toward primary and general election candidates are strongly related to voters’ engagement in the fall campaign. Finally, we are able to explain how contacts, campaign information, and citizen attitudes toward candidates shape changes in levels of engagement across the primary and general election campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-223
Number of pages38
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • political engagement
  • presidential campaigns
  • primaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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