More Than Just Kissing Babies: The Strategy of Campaign Visits in United States Presidential Elections

Working paper available upon request.

Every four years, the Democratic and Republican parties each send out a nominee to tour the country, press the flesh and convince the American people to put them into the White House. In this paper, I analyse how candidates decide where to hold their campaign events. To this end, I employ a possion regression on data from the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. I find that the competitiveness of a state as well as its number of votes in the electoral college serve as an excellent predictor of campaign visits. This effect is even more prevalent in the last month before Election Day. Beneath the state level, candidates from both parties focus their efforts on cities and regions which support them politically.