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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

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In This Section
Volume 10, Issue 4 (Feb 2013)


Campaign Effects and Dynamics in the 2012 Election

Costas Panagopoulos
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Political Science, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-02-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/forum-2013-0010


This article analyzes the evolution of voter preferences in the 2012 presidential election cycle. It also examines the influence of specific events, in order to help explain the dynamics we observe over the course of the campaign. I find considerable evidence of campaign-event effects on aggregate voter preferences in 2012, reinforcing the notion that events help to shape campaign dynamics.


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  • Erikson, Robert, Costas Panagopoulos, and Christopher Wlezien. 2004. “Likely (and Unlikely) Voters and the Assessment of Campaign Dynamics.” Public Opinion Quarterly 68 (4): 588–601. [Crossref]

  • Erikson, Robert, Costas Panagopoulos, and Christopher Wlezien. 2009. “The Crystallization of Voter Preferences during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 40 (3): 482–496.

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  • Panagopoulos, Costas. 2009b. “Preelection Poll Accuracy in the 2008 General Elections.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 39 (4): 896–907.

  • Panagopoulos, Costas. 2010. “The Dynamics of Campaign Preferences in the 2010 Congressional Midterm Elections.” The Forum 8 (4): Article 9.

  • Panagopoulos, Costas. 2012. “Campaign Context and Preference Dynamics in U.S. Presidential Elections.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 22 (2): 123–127. (September).

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  • Wlezien, Christopher. 1999. “Presidential Election Polls in 2000: A Study in Dynamics.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 33 (1): 172–187.

  • Wlezien, Christopher, and Robert Erikson. 2002. “The Timeline of Presidential Election Campaigns.” Journal of Politics 64: 969–993. [Web of Science]

About the article

Costas Panagopoulos

Costas Panagopoulos is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy at Fordham University.

Corresponding author: Costas Panagopoulos, Department of Political Science, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA

Published Online: 2013-02-09

Details about Pollster’s aggregation methodology are available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/simon-jackman/modelbased-poll-averaging_b_1883525.html. (Accessed November 20, 2012.)

The Pollster estimates are correlated with the Gallup Daily Tracking poll measures (correlation coefficient=0.46, p<0.01), for example.

Lowess (locally weighted scatter plot smoothing) creates a new value for each time point based on the results of regressions using a designated number of surrounding data points. Predictions from these regressions are weighted based on their temporal distance from the point in question to generate the new value [see Erikson and Wlezien (1999) for additional details].

The Republican convention took place in Tampa, FL August 27–30, 2012, and the Democratic convention took place in Charlotte, NC September 3–7, 2012.

For the purposes of the current study, we consider the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to have started on October 29 when much of the devastation was concentrated in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Citation Information: The Forum, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/forum-2013-0010. Export Citation

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