Lynn Vavreck on why “The Message Matters” in presidential campaigns

UCLA has posted a great article about Lynn Vavreck’s new book The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns.

A quick excerpt, though the rest of it really is worth a read:

In pursuing the project, Vavreck said she was inspired by two seemingly conflicting situations in American politics: the staggering costs of presidential elections and research that has shown economic forecasting models predict the outcomes of U.S. presidential races with an 80-percent accuracy rate.

“If we can predict the election in advance, then why do we spend a billion dollars in a campaign?” Lynn Vavreck said. “That was the puzzle that kept me up at night. I wanted to figure out whether all those things people say in campaigns really add value, and the answer is yes, the message matters, but so does the economic context.”