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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

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Interest Groups in Electoral Politics: 2012 in Context

Michael M. Franz
  • Bowdoin College, 9800 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA
  • :
Published Online: 2013-02-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/forum-2013-0007

Abstract

This paper compares the levels of ad spending from outside groups and traditional party organizations across seven federal election cycles. The data show clearly that outside groups advertised at historic levels in 2012. Such intense efforts send two important signals to students of American campaign finance. The first involves a crisis in the system of limited donations to candidates and party committees moving forward. The second resurrects an old debate in political science about whether parties or candidates should be the center of our electoral process. The paper concludes with a consideration of possible reforms that might help restore parties and candidates to the center of issue debates in competitive federal elections.

Michael M. Franz

Michael Franz is Associate Professor of Government at Bowdoin College and Co-Director of the Wesleyan Media Project (WMP). His research interests include campaign finance, political advertising, and interest groups, and he is author or co-author of four books, including The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising (Temple, 2011). He especially thanks The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Wesleyan University and Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center for their support of this project, along with his two collaborators, Travis Ridout and Erika Franklin Fowler, and the WMP Project Manager, Laura Baum, plus the entire Media Project team across all three institutions.

Corresponding author: Michael M. Franz, Bowdoin College, 9800 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA


Published Online: 2013-02-09


Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 10, Issue 4, Pages 62–79, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/forum-2013-0007, February 2013

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