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Campaigning in Past Tense: How Candidate Background Alters Issue Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  enrolled in primary or secondary school in the education model, and the percentage of senior citizens in the models for Medicare and Social Security. 9 I expect these variables to be positive. In landslide races, the issue content is more consensual, particularly for incumbents. In more contentious races, campaigns are compelled to take more forceful stands on more salient issues (Kahn & Kenney 1999). The Competitiveness variable accounts for changes in the issue agenda due to the tightness of the race. I use the ratings of the Cook Political Report in August of 2004 for this measure. Cook gives four different ratings to each race. I assign Safe races a value of 0, 1 for Likely races, 2 for Lean races, and 3 for Toss-Ups. 10 I also include dichotomous variables for Incumbents and for Open Seat candidates, with challengers as the excluded category. 11 Table 2 presents the results of the 18 separate models. The results for candidate reputation hold up in this multivariate test. Here, 15 of the 18 coefficients for Reputation are in the expected positive direction. Nine of the 15 positive coefficients are significant. These differences are again, relatively modest, but the impact of a candidate’s background compares favorably to the other independent variables, which only rarely have a significant impact on a campaign’s propensity to highlight a specific issue. TABLE 2 About Here In particular, the party variable has only modest impact on issue choices, despite the importance of issue ownership. Democrats are more likely to advertise on their issue of Health Care, and Republicans are more likely to advertise on Terrorism and the 9/11 Attacks, issues 9 The percent student data for students come from the National Center for Educational Statistics for the year 2004. The web address is: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/projections/projections2016/tables.asp#Group1 , and were downloaded on March 24, 2008. The percent senior data are from the 2000 US Census. I downloaded the data on March 24, 2008 from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-context=gct& . 10 The data are from the August 20, 2004 Senate race ratings, available (for free) on Cook s website at: http://www.cookpolitical.com/races/report_pdfs/2004_senate_ratings_aug20.pdf (downloaded March 20, 2008). 11 Because the model uses candidate level data to estimate to estimate results across all advertisements aired, I calculated robust standard errors clustered around each candidate in the model. 11

Authors: Arbour, Brian.
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enrolled in primary or secondary school in the education model, and the percentage of senior
citizens in the models for Medicare and Social Security.
I expect these variables to be positive.
In landslide races, the issue content is more consensual, particularly for incumbents. In
more contentious races, campaigns are compelled to take more forceful stands on more salient
issues (Kahn & Kenney 1999). The Competitiveness variable accounts for changes in the issue
agenda due to the tightness of the race. I use the ratings of the Cook Political Report in August of
2004 for this measure. Cook gives four different ratings to each race. I assign Safe races a value
of 0, 1 for Likely races, 2 for Lean races, and 3 for Toss-Ups.
I also include dichotomous
variables for Incumbents and for Open Seat candidates, with challengers as the excluded
category.
Table 2 presents the results of the 18 separate models. The results for candidate
reputation hold up in this multivariate test. Here, 15 of the 18 coefficients for Reputation are in
the expected positive direction. Nine of the 15 positive coefficients are significant. These
differences are again, relatively modest, but the impact of a candidate’s background compares
favorably to the other independent variables, which only rarely have a significant impact on a
campaign’s propensity to highlight a specific issue.
TABLE 2 About Here
In particular, the party variable has only modest impact on issue choices, despite the
importance of issue ownership. Democrats are more likely to advertise on their issue of Health
Care, and Republicans are more likely to advertise on Terrorism and the 9/11 Attacks, issues
9
The percent student data for students come from the National Center for Educational Statistics for the year 2004.
The web address is:
, and were
downloaded on March 24, 2008. The percent senior data are from the 2000 US Census. I downloaded the data on
March 24, 2008 from
10
The data are from the August 20, 2004 Senate race ratings, available (for free) on Cook s website at:
(downloaded March 20, 2008).
11
Because the model uses candidate level data to estimate to estimate results across all advertisements aired, I
calculated robust standard errors clustered around each candidate in the model.
11


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