Presidential resource allocation within the framework of the electoral college
Frost, Heather Nicole
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How do presidential candidates allocate campaign resources within the framework of the Electoral College? Despite the abundance of research on presidential resource allocation strategies, we still do not have a complete answer to this question. This paper argues that the availability of information that campaigns have at their disposal are a key component in understanding candidate allocations throughout the course of an election. If we operate with the belief that competitiveness influences presidential campaign strategies, then we must also consider how these strategies are subject to change based upon competitiveness levels. As the election progresses, the information that candidates have regarding states' competitiveness will become more available. Specifically, candidates will have access to more state polls. I argue that candidates are more likely to formulate allocation strategies in response to polling data during the post-convention period of the election while candidates should be more likely to allocate resources based upon the previous election during the pre-convention period. Once candidates acquire more information, I argue that they should then expend more resources in competitive states (since they will be operating with more certainty). I find evidence supporting my hypotheses, with the exception of the 2008 election. Additionally, since a higher level of information allows candidates to identify which states are the most crucial to their chances of winning, I expect for presidential candidates to allocate to fewer states during the post-convention period. However, the findings do not clearly support this expectation.