An Outline Of The Theory Of G-Sets by Chris Hillman

By Chris Hillman

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In the 1970s, election scholar Edward Tufte (1975) built a strong predictive model of congressional midterm elections using only a small number of variables. Although scholars have since changed and refined congressional elections models, Tufte’s point is well taken: voters reward or punish candidates for events that are largely beyond their control. In 2008, given the weak state of the economy, along with a historic low number of Americans who believed the nation was on the ‘‘right track’’ (an oft-used measure of the mood of the public), it was a very tough year for Republicans; as a result of the November election, the Democrats picked up 21 House and 8 Senate seats, along with control of the White House.

And the power of endorsements might be changing. In the past, voters relied on a limited range of sources for their political information and a local newspaper might have held sway, but now voters can graze the Internet for all sorts of campaign news, and endorsements from local papers might be less important than they once were. Overall Interest in the Campaign Political novices sometimes become frustrated that their campaigns do not make the news—and, in fact, that the campaign may be of little interest to voters.

They are often held on short notice when an office suddenly becomes vacant, perhaps because of a resignation or death. In March 2005, Doris Matsui, a California Democrat, succeeded her late husband in Congress by winning the seat herself. Often, as in Matsui’s case, there is less interest in politics for special elections, and turnout is generally low. Propelled to the winner’s circle by name recognition and her husband’s long-standing political connections, Matsui won 69 percent of the vote in this lowturnout election.

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