The allocation of presidential campaign resources
Virgil, Scott Matthew
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Political scientists have long debated how presidential campaigns allocate resources within the framework of the Electoral College. The debate involves not only how the resources are allocated, but also extends to the definitions and measurements of the variables involved in the prediction and explanation of these resource allocations. This paper argues that presidential campaigns allocate resources based upon a state’s overall value within the Electoral College calculus. The concept of a state’s value is derived from the interaction of two independent variables: a state’s presidential election competitiveness and a state’s Electoral College votes. The dependent variable (campaign resources) is operationalized via candidate visits. From a causal viewpoint, a state’s value dictates how campaigns allocate resources (again, a state’s value represents the interaction between a state’s presidential election competitiveness and a state’s Electoral College votes; this will be addressed more during the discussion of the model). The expectation is that as a state’s value increases, so do the resources allocated to it. I contend that polls are a key component needed to measure a state’s overall value.