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Who Donates in Campaigns?
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Book description

While much is known about who votes in American elections, much less is known about who donates. In this book, the authors utilize a unique and historically unprecedented data set of donors from the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections to answer longstanding questions: what is the relationship between donors and candidates? How do candidates attract and respond to contributors? How do campaign strategies reflect changing campaign finance laws and the development of the internet? With unprecedented cooperation from the Obama, McCain, and Romney campaigns, the authors investigate presidential campaign donors at all giving levels to produce the most systematic and complete analysis of donors to presidential nominees to date. As elections are decided increasingly by donors' dollars, Who Donates to Campaigns? provides relevant research on the broader trends in partisan polarization and, more generally, on how campaigns can engage more citizens in political participation.


'This fine book constitutes the state of the art in scholarship on individual contributors. Drawing on large, well-designed surveys and many in-depth interviews, the book advances theory, methods, and substantive knowledge, and is an impressive accomplishment. Highly recommended.'

Clyde Wilcox - Georgetown University, Washington, DC

'Political reformers often speak of ‘small donors’ as a kind of salvation for whatever ails our political system. Professors Magleby, Goodliffe, and Olsen have done the hard work of looking at small donor contributions to recent presidential campaigns. This book is very important for understanding the motivations and benefits of small donations, and their limitations as a cure-all.'

Trevor Potter - General Counsel to the John McCain Campaigns, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, and Founder and President of the Campaign Legal Center

'Magleby, Goodliffe, and Olsen have made a major advance in our understanding of donors and the effect of their donations in modern electoral campaigns in America … The result is a massively important advance in our understanding of who donates and why they do, increasingly critical questions in today’s campaign environment.'

John Aldrich - Duke University, North Carolina

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