Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

How Citizens United Leveled the Playing Field, Why Debates Don't Matter How Citizens United Leveled the Playing Field, Why Debates Don't Matte...

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Political Landscape Podcast / Podcast

How Citizens United Leveled the Playing Field, Why Debates Don't Matter

(Яick Harris/Flickr)

photo of Cory Bennett
October 13, 2012

id

The Political Landscape is a weekly podcast where we discuss the news of the day with leading experts. 

Opinions over the Citizens United ruling, which opened the door for Super PACs and unlimited donations in political campaigns, have generally fallen along party lines. Republicans in favor. Democrats against. Republicans rationalize that money equals free speech and can’t be regulated. Democrats worry that unregulated money gives a small number of people too much influence on an election.

 

But you might be surprised to hear that the Citizens United ruling has actually leveled the political playing field this election.

National Journal Hotline executive editor Josh Kraushaar joins us in our first segment this week. This week, Kraushaar wrote about the financial parity super PACs have established this election cycle. Not including super PAC money, President Barack Obama has outspent Republican challenger Mitt Romney $306 to $133 million on battleground state ads. Including super PAC money? Romney actually holds a $396.7 million to $363.2 million edge. 

"If the goal of campaign finance reform is to encourage spending parity between the two sides, super PACs have pulled off the trick," he writes.

In our second segment: Do debates even matter? Columbia political science professor Robert Erikson says maybe not. He’s spent over a decade investigating presidential campaign polls going back to 1952. His findings suggest that while individual debates may move polls temporarily, the culmulative effect from the first to last debate is usually negligible. As if the debates didn’t even happen.

Erikson recently published a book with co-author Christopher Wleizen about the duo's research, "The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter."

What does matter? Primary season, conventions, and surprisingly, the last few days before an election. What doesn’t matter? Most events after the conventions.

"Evidently," they write, "the more the mass media and the public pay attention, the less voters change their minds."

Check out last week's episode about why incumbents always struggle in debates.

Check out all past episodes of the Political Landscape.

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on iTunes

Find us on Stitcher Find us on Stitcher

More Political Landscape Podcast
Job Board
Search Jobs
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Structural Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | New Haven, CT
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Quality Systems Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Greensboro, NC
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
Senior Water Resource Project Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Fairfax, VA
Civil Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Steamboat Springs, CO
Entry Level Geotechnical Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Albany, NY
Sales Engineer-Process Automation/Instrumentation
American Society of Civil Engineers
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus