final senate paper

final senate paper - PSCI 3021 Final Paper Failures in Tom...

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PSCI 3021 Final Paper Failure’s in Tom Allen’s Campaign for Maine’s 2008 U.S. Senate Seat Incumbent Republican Senator Susan Collins defeated Democratic challenger Tom Allen by a twenty two-point margin in the 2008 Maine United States Senate Race (pollster.com). Campaigning to a constituency disappointed in the current presidential administration and economic situation, the Democratic challenger initially was expected to run a much closer battle. Politicker’s Managing Editor James Pindell explains of Maine’s 2008 Senate race, “On paper this race should be one of the most competitive in the country. This year Republican Susan Collins faces a good candidate in a good year for Democrats. Maine voters are the poorest in the region, they dislike the Iraq war, they allow high taxes” (Pindell, 2008). However, Allen’s failures in broader voter appeal and campaign strategy led to his heavy defeat. In polls conducted throughout the entire campaign season, Collins support never fell below 49% of voters, despite Allen’s attempts to promote change in the state (rassmussenreport.com). Allen’s refusal to converge on the median voter ideal and his resistance in shifting his campaign focus from the Iraq war to his opponent’s association with the Bush administration were two main factors responsible for the loss of his 2008 campaign for US Senate. Allen’s failure to appeal to median and independent voters proved a fatal fault in his 2008 US Senate campaign. Rebecca Morton explains in Analyzing Elections “the candidate who most appeals to the median voter in an election is the one likely to win” (Morton, 124). The majority-rule nature of U.S. elections has proven to reward the
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candidates who moderate extremist policies in order to attract voters. (Morton, 2006). The median voter theorem argues that “if two candidates are competing for an office, if they care only about winning, if voters have preferences shaped like [median voters], and if all the voters turn out, then the candidates will choose policy positions equal to the median voter’s ideal point” (Morton, 94). Whichever candidate holds a policy position closest to the median voter’s ideal is the most likely to attract the most votes and thus win the election. The further a candidate’s policy position moves from a moderate position, the more a median voter’s utility is decreased (Morton, 2006). According to an Election Day exit poll conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research, “self-styled” moderates composed the largest bloc of Collins’ supporters, and as many of her voters described themselves as independents as they did Republicans (Bell, 2008). By August, Collins held the support of 55% of non-affiliated voters and 29% of registered democrats (rassmussenreports.com). Dan Billigs, a Republican attorney and activist from Maine, explains Mainers as “a-la carte voters.” He
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final senate paper - PSCI 3021 Final Paper Failures in Tom...

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