February 4, 2008: The Importance of Being Early: Presidential Primary Front-Loading
APSA Press Release
For Immediate Release
The Importance of Being Early: Presidential Primary Front-Loading and the Impact of the Proposed Western Regional PrimaryWashington, DC—In an election season characterized by the maneuvering for early primary dates among states, a new study conducted by political scientists examines how early caucuses and primaries have become crucial in the race for the White House. The study takes a look at how states use the two strategies known as “front-loading” and proposed regional primaries in an effort to boost influence in the presidential nomination process.
Travis N. Ridout (
Front-loading is the phenomenon of states moving their primary or caucus dates forward in an effort to increase their influence in the nomination process. The authors examine the effect of front-loading on presidential candidates who are visiting and advertising in these states. They also examine the effect a regional primary could have on the amount of recognition a state receives from the candidates.Using data gathered from the 2000 and 2004 presidential nomination races on both candidate advertising and travel patterns, Ridout and Rottinghaus predict how much attention states participating in a possible western regional primary could receive in 2008. Their analysis suggests that schedulers for such a primary ought to select a date closely following the
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