Syllabus
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Syllabus

Course Number: PSCI 3234, Fall 2008

College/University: Virginia Tech

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Voting and Elections Political Science 3234 (95121) www.majbill.vt.edu/polisci/brians/ Fall 2004 11:15a-12:05p MWF in Torg 1030 Craig L. Brians, Ph.D. CBRIANS@vt.edu Office Hours: 12:20p-1:10p MW 522 Major Williams Hall 231-7544 Texts and Readings: Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich and David W. Rohde. 2004. Change and Continuity in the 2000 and 2002 Elections. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Ceaser, James W., and...

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and Voting Elections Political Science 3234 (95121) www.majbill.vt.edu/polisci/brians/ Fall 2004 11:15a-12:05p MWF in Torg 1030 Craig L. Brians, Ph.D. CBRIANS@vt.edu Office Hours: 12:20p-1:10p MW 522 Major Williams Hall 231-7544 Texts and Readings: Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich and David W. Rohde. 2004. Change and Continuity in the 2000 and 2002 Elections. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Ceaser, James W., and Andrew E. Busch. 2001. The Perfect Tie: The True Story of the 2000 Presidential Election. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Corbett, Michael and Barbara Norrander. 2003. American Government: Using MicroCase ExplorIt, 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. Wayne, Stephen J. 2004. The Road to the White House 2004 - The Politics of Presidential Elections. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. Newsweek must be read weekly. The least expensive way to subscribe is by calling 800631-1040 and ask for the "student discount," which should about $24 for 1-yr. The Roanoke Times should be read daily, with particular attention given to electoral politics. Course Description: In this upper-level course, students will learn how citizens evaluate candidates, issues, parties and their political context. Both stability and recent changes in voters' behavior are central to the course. Building upon a background in classic political science research and a general understanding of American voting behavior, three election campaigns are empirically examined in greater depth: the 2000 Presidential race and the 2002 Congressional elections. The 2004 Presidential contest will be studied as it develops during the term. Class assignments call for students to analyze primary sources while developing a familiarity with academic political science research. The Wayne text provides an overview of the structure and participants in presidential election contests over the years. The work broadly surveys many structural and contextual factors that influence election outcomes. With the Abramson, Aldrich and Rohde text we see the recent presidential and congressional elections (and voters) empirically analyzed, and placed in the context of previous recent electoral contests. The Ceaser and Busch book sets the context and minutely examines the controversial 2000 election and its contested outcome. This particular election will be analyzed in class against the broader background provided by the voting and elections literature and this historical work. Using the MicroCase (by Corbett and Norrander) software and data, students have an opportunity to more closely investigate political issues using primary data. These data will provide the means to examine questions posed in weekly assignments, as well as the required empirical support for students' term papers. The most timely examples of practical politics are contained in the morning paper and summarized and analyzed in Newsweek.. The Roanoke Times is available by home subscription (800-346-1234, xt211), on newsstands, in the Newman Library, free on the Web (www.roanoke.com/roatimes). Deeply discounted student subscriptions to Newsweek are available at (800-631-1040). Additional recent journal or newspaper articles may be assigned and placed on reserve from time to time. Articles containing election information will also be used for students' term papers 1 This class encourages students to make full use of business and professional communication media. This syllabus is available as a PDF on the Web (www.majbill.vt.edu/polisci/brians/). Students are likewise encouraged to utilize the wealth of political information and research available at links from the course Home Page. The Instructor is best contacted by phone (231-7544), via e-mail (CBRIANS@vt.edu), or during scheduled class or office hours. Every effort will be made to reply to emails within 24 hours on business days; many class or research-oriented questions require interactive responses and may be better addressed by phone or in person. Grading: Students will complete computer lab exercises, three pop quizzes, a mid-term exam, a term paper project, and a final exam. Weekly computer lab exercises, primarily drawn from the MicroCase (Corbett) book, account for 10% of the grade. Each pop quiz accounts for 5%, the mid-term is worth 15%, and the final exam counts for 20% of your grade. The term paper project (35% of grade) is comprised of three graded components: 1) a 2-3 page outline (10%) of the paper and its underlying library research, 2) a 11-12 page final paper (15%), and 3) an in-class oral presentation (10%) of the student's paper material. Additionally, class participation and attendance will be factored into the remaining 5% of your grade. Class attendance is mandatory, and roll will be taken. One point per calendar day will be deducted from late assignments, papers or late paper outlines. Exams must be taken on the date scheduled unless excused by the instructor prior to the exam day, or the student can provide written verification from a medical doctor of an illness or health emergency. The final examination will be administered as directed by University policy on Monday, December 13th from 10:05am-12:05pm. Paper project: After the first several weeks of the term, students will receive their assigned research topics. Each student will be assigned two presidential campaigns to compare between 1956 and 2000, analyzing how a segment of the vote has shifted or how campaigning has changed over time. For the more recent elections, will students utilize data provided from MicroCase, while for the earlier campaign they may depend more heavily on published research. The required resources include academic research and popular publications (e.g., news weeklies, newspaper articles) on the two elections. An outline of the paper (including all references) is due on Friday, October 1st, with the completed paper due at the time of each group of students' in-class presentation in the later part of the term. The instructor will assign presentation partners and schedule the oral presentation dates. Computer Lab work: In the first week, students will be signed-up for an initial lab orientation, which will occur in the evening. After several initial group meetings in the lab, students will complete the graded lab assignments individually, with office hour and byappointment assistance from the GTA and Professor Brians. Lab assignments will generally be issued on Wednesdays and are due at the beginning of class the following Monday. An incomplete ("I") is assigned only to a student who is otherwise passing the class and only in cases of unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances (e.g., major illness) preventing a student from completing the course requirements. Verifiable documentary evidence, such as a Medical Doctor's note, is required. Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation because of a disability (e.g., learning disability, attention deficit disorder, psychological, physical, etc.) should make an appointment to see me during or outside of office hours. 2 To maintain a fair and untainted learning environment for all students, there must be no cheating, plagiarism, or other dishonest conduct, as defined by Virginia Tech policy. Each of these terms is defined in the Virginia Tech Honor Code (http://www.honorsystem.vt.edu/). Each assignment shall include a statement personally signed by the student stating that the work was performed by the undersigned student. Any violations of the honor code will be fully reported. Voting and Elections (PSCI 3234): Fall 2004 Topic Aug. 23: Aug. 25: Aug. 27: Aug. 30: Sept. 1: Sept. 3: Sept. 6: Sept. 8: Sept. 10: Sept. 13: Sept. 15: Sept. 17: Sept. 20: Sept. 22: Sept. 24: Sept. 27: Sept. 29: Oct. 1: Introduction to the class Introduction to Empirical Voting Research Presidential Selection Voting: Examining Institutional Costs Theoretical Basis of Voting Crosstabs Who Votes and Why? Campaign Resources: Finance Nomination: Obtaining the Delegates MicroCase Exercise 6 due Nomination: Party Healing and the Conventions 2000 Nomination Campaign Campaigning: A Winning Strategy MicroCase Exercise 7 due Campaigning: News, Debates, and Advertising Outlining: Organizing your thoughts Library Research MicroCase Exercise 8 due Presidential Elections in Historical Context 2000 General Election Campaign 2000 Election Results MicroCase Exercise 9 due Recalling Election Eve 2000 Influences on the Vote in 2000: Popular Forces and People's Considerations Paper Outline Due The Pre-Primary MicroCase Exercise 10 due Party Nominations Waiting for the Convention Pre-election Campaign Post-election Campaign Corbett/Norrander, ch. 9 Wayne, ch. 8 Abramson et al., ch. 2 Abramson et al., ch. 3 Corbett/Norrander, ch. 10 Ceasar and Busch, Prologue Ceasar and Busch, ch. 1 Readings Wayne, Chapter 1 Wayne, ch. 3 Corbett/Norrander, ch. 6 Abramson et al., ch.4 Wayne, ch. 2 Wayne, ch. 4 Corbett/Norrander, ch. 7 Wayne, ch. 5 Abramson et al., ch. 1 Wayne, ch. 6 Corbett/Norrander, ch. 8 Wayne, ch. 7 Oct. 4: Oct. 6: Oct. 8: Oct. 11: Oct. 13: Ceasar and Busch, ch. 2 Ceasar and Busch, ch. 3 Ceasar and Busch, ch. 4 Ceasar and Busch, ch. 5 Ceasar and Busch, ch. 6 3 Oct. 15: Oct. 18: Oct. 20: Oct. 22: Congressional and State Elections Electoral Reform Proposals Midterm Exam Partisanship: The Gender Gap within and between parties Ceasar and Busch, ch. 7 Ceasar and Busch, ch. 8 Norrander, Barbara. 2003. "The Intraparty Gender Gap: Differences between Male and Female Voters in the 1980-2000 Presidential Primaries." PS: Political Science and Politics 36(April):181-186. Abramson et al., ch. 8 Abramson et al., ch. 9 Abramson et al., ch. 10 Abramson et al., ch. 11 Oct. 25: Oct. 27: Oct. 29: Nov. 1: Nov. 3: Nov. 5: Nov. 8: Nov. 10: Nov. 12: Nov. 15: Nov. 17: Nov. 19: Partisanship Today Congressional Voting: Candidates in 2000 Congressional Voting: The electorate in 2000 Congressional Voting: The 2002 election Election Expectations Election Recap Groups' Political Participation Candidate Evaluations Issue-based Voting Retrospective Voting: Performance? Paper Project -- Questions and Answers Data Analysis: Reviewing MicroCase Mass Media: Negative Advertising Abramson et al., ch. 5 Abramson et al., ch. 6 (pg. 121-131) Abramson et al., ch. 6 (pg. 132-148) Abramson et al., ch. 7 Goldstein, Ken, and Paul Freedman. 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Turnout: New Evidence for a Stimulation Effect." Journal of Politics 64(August): 721-740. Nov. 20Nov. 28: Nov. 29: Thanksgiving Break Mass Media: Campaign Ads' Racial Messages Valentino, Nicholas, Vincent Hutchings, and Ismail White. 2002. "Cues that Matter: How Political Ads Prime Racial Attitudes during Campaigns." American Political Science Review 96(March): 75-90. Dec. 1: Dec. 3: Dec. 6: Dec. 8: Student presentations Student presentations Student presentations The Future? / Summary and Review Abramson et al., ch. 12 Wayne, ch. 9 Dec. 13: Final Exam (10:05am-12:05pm) 4

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