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Senior Thesis Presentation

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Sophie Fry

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Senior Thesis Presentation

Perilous Primaries Divisive Primaries &
Independents Theory, Methodology and Results Case Studies The Divisive Primary and Its Effect on Independent Voters in American Congressional Elections Divisive Primaries Very Competitive
>5% Margin of Victory
High Spending
High Negativity
Polarization of Candidates
Draining of Resources Hypotheses HA1: Divisive primaries will have a negative effect on general election outcomes by shifting independents to vote for the party without a divisive primary Methodology Mixed Methods Study: quantitative statistics and qualitative case studies. FINDINGS Primary Type OHIO Wisconsin
2012 "The people of the 6th District...have survived one of the roughest campaigns in Ohio's history" - Bob McEwen, Primary Night "Without a doubt, [the Republican primary] helped me. It made it possible for me to compete in the district" - Ted Strickland "This was not the way I planned it"
- Tommy Thompson What happened? Evolution of a swing state Post-primary TV spending in Wisconsin After the divisive primary, the Thompson campaign was almost solely carried by outside groups in some counties "Thompson went from being fairly popular to being unpopular" within the span of a couple of week - Baldwin "came at Thompson really hard and he never got back" A highly competitive challenge in the primary will bring about a certain set of consequence in the general election - notably negative. Divisive Primary Hypothesis: Policy Implications Primary Reform: Alleviating the Problem Parties: Adapting to the Phenomena Campaign Finance Reform and Divisive Primaries States changing the system to open, non-partisan system (California implemented this is 2012)
Called a "top-two" system
Can prevent the polarization and partisanship Party cohesiveness, reduce length of the primary, state conventions Campaign finance reform
Federal level / Supreme Court
Individually campaign motivated
SuperPACs In Conclusion... The Divisive Primary effect is strongest among independent voters - Divisive primaries make it much less likely that these voters will vote for that candidate.

Rather than ignoring the damage that can be done during a divisive primary, campaigns and candidates must instead acknowledge the reality of the divisive primary effect and work with organizations and federal-level systems to alleviate the resulting tensions. A Thesis presented to the
Government Department
By SOPHIE FRY 52% of Millenials identify as "leaning independent" or "independent"
More likely to change their votes - Independents, 53.45%; Partisans, 37%. "Divisiveness" Framed in this study as primary elections in which the margin of victory was under 5%. Mechanisms Financials; Polarization; Negativity; Resource Depletion Data set of all House and Senate elections from 1970 to 2010 in all 50 states was compiled.
All elections then classified as divisive or not-divisive on the basis of margin of victory
Ran a series of correlations and regressions to highlight the divisive primary effect. Quantitative Statistics Overall effect suggests that when parties have divisive primaries in states with open primaries, the divisive primary effect is weakened; in contrast, in a closed primary, the independent voter is more strongly effected.

This effect is stronger for Democrats than Republicans Explanations?
Participation theory and behavioral commitment (using multivariate regression): the divisive primary effect is a stronger indication of the way in which independents will vote (0.241 in a Dem vote, 0.322 in a Rep vote) than the effect of incumbency (0.045 and 0.065 respectively) For Independents: Incumbency: However: Overall: Negative correlation overall between a divisive primary and the winner in the general election - not very strong, but indicates the direction of the relationship. Upon performing regression analysis, however, a divisive primary has less of an effect. When looking at only how independent voters behave, there is a MUCH stronger correlation and regression coefficient between an independent vote for the party without a divisive primary. Statistically, incumbency correlates strongly (0.78) with victory - HOWEVER this falls to 0.31 when looking at divisive primaries. GO VOTE! In the Special Election Primaries If you are registered to vote in Massachusetts...
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