Every four years Americans are inundated with campaign activities from candidates attempting to become the next president of the United States. An under-researched area of these campaign activities are campaign visits-rallies, town hall meetings, and candidate meet-and-greets for example. Almost all candidates conduct visits, yet we do not have a good understanding of how they affect voters. Wendland tackles four big questions throughout Campaigns That Matter: 1) Do campaigns matter? 2) Are campaign visits strategic? 3) Do visits help mobilize voters? 4) Do visits impact candidate preference? Using a unique set of data that includes all visits conducted throughout the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential nominating contests, Wendland explores how these visits affected voters compared to traditional measures of advertisements, campaign spending, and momentum. In doing so, Wendland has provided us with a more comprehensive picture of how voters make decisions in the voting booth.
Jay Wendland is assistant professor of history and political science at Daemen College.