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Strategy and choice in the 1988 presidential primaries

Cain, Bruce E. and Lewis, I. A. and Rivers, Douglas (1989) Strategy and choice in the 1988 presidential primaries. Electoral Studies, 8 (1). pp. 23-48. ISSN 0261-3794. doi:10.1016/0261-3794(89)90020-6.

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In recent years, thinking about the American Presidential primaries has been dominated by the image of Carter's victory in 1976. Conventional widsom in the eighties has advised presidential candidates to focus on the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, and to at least match, or better yet, exceed the expectations that the press, pollsters, and pundits have for them in those states. The successful campaign, it was thought, had to force the competition out by the end of March in order to lock up the nomination before the convention.1 This common wisdom — the so-called ‘momentum theory’ — will now have to be revised as a result of what happened in the 1988 primaries. While one candidate from each party did eventually emerge victorious in 1988, no one followed the Carter script as closely as expected. The Democratic race was not clearly resolved until Dukakis managed consecutive victories over Jackson in Wisconsin (5 April), New York (19 April) and Pennsylvania (26 April). On the Republican side, even though the race was over after Super Tuesday, the conventional ‘momentum’ story was still married by the odd — and in the end, meaningless — outcome in Iowa Republican caucuses. Bush exceeded expectations in Iowa, but in a negative direction, and both Dole and Robertson were unable to convert their successes into any advantage in New Hampshire and the South.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 1989 Elsevier Ltd.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170906-143356177
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Official Citation:Bruce E. Cain, I.A. Lewis, Douglas Rivers, Strategy and choice in the 1988 presidential primaries, Electoral Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 1989, Pages 23-48, ISSN 0261-3794, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81204
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Sep 2017 21:39
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:41

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