Political scientists have generally been skeptical that presidential campaigns have a significant effect on the final outcome of a presidential election. But 2012, this article argues, was an exception. By all the indicators that political scientists traditionally look to, 2012 had long shaped up to be a very close election. That Mitt Romney lost was due largely to the remarkably inept quality of his campaign, which largely avoided any serious discussion of the issues, even when such discussion would have worked to his advantage.
About the author
William G. Mayer is a professor of political science at Northeastern University. His major areas of research and writing include the presidential nominating process, presidential elections, public opinion, and media and politics. The author would like to thank Matthew Dickinson, James Campbell, and Natalie Mayer for their help in writing this article.
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