Essay: The U.S. 2012 Presidential Election

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Political scientist David Paletz makes sense of the 2012 election in a cogent essay that examines the election context, campaign strategies, and the involvement of the media.

He examines three contexts that have influenced this campaign. These include Obama’s 2008 win and subsequent failure to meet high expectations to turn around the economy. The voting situation, especially turnout, is the third contextual factor.  Young people and minorities who turned out for Obama in 2008 are now among those most likely to stay home from the polls.    

Campaigns develop their strategies based on information and data from their polls and focus groups.  Party identification, candidate’s image, and issues all factor into campaign strategy.  Paletz also identifies four different ways in which the media are involved in campaigns based on how much control candidates have over the content of the communication. 

Paletz concludes that this election is far from certain. AsElection Day nears, his salient and insightful analysis of the context, strategies, and media involved in campaigns are valuable for anyone seeking to understand this election cycle.

David L. Paletz
Professor, Department of Political Science
Duke University
paletz@duke.edu

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