Friday, January 13, 2012

Money Can't Buy You Votes

With the Republican primaries dominating the news these days, it's worth taking a look at. But unlike most reporting which feels more like sports commentary based on either hunches or the obvious, the boys at Freakonomics ask an important and interesting question: Does Money Really Buy Elections?:
When a candidate doubled their spending, holding everything else constant, they only got an extra one percent of the popular vote. It’s the same if you cut your spending in half, you only lose one percent of the popular vote. So we’re talking about really large swings in campaign spending with almost trivial changes in the vote.
So even though I'm a big supporter of publishing who gets what money from where, what I thought in 2008 and  2010 still stands. Campaign donations are like voting, they are a way to show your support, but they don't matter much.


  1. Anonymous11:03 AM

    money buys airtime, if the message is there than you will see more than a 1% increase.

  2. Yes, but the research shows that the extra airtime doesn't get you very many more votes. Pick a candidate you do not plan to vote for. Now watch all their campaign ads. Did they change your mind?


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