The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election

The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election Review

"Game changer." We heard it so many times during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. But what actually made a difference in the contest--and what was just hype? In this groundbreaking book, John Sides and Lynn Vavreck tell the dramatic story of the election--with a big difference. Using an unusual "moneyball" approach, they look beyond the anecdote, folklore, and conventional wisdom that often pass for election analysis. Instead, they draw on extensive quantitative data about the economy, public opinion, news coverage, and political advertising to separate what was truly important from what was irrelevant. Combining this data with the best social science research and colorful on-the-ground reporting, they provide the most accurate and precise account of the election yet written--and the only book of its kind.

Which mattered more--Barack Obama's midsummer ad blitz or the election year's economic growth? How many voters actually changed their minds--and was it ever enough to sway the outcome? The Gamble answers important questions like these by looking at the interplay between the candidates' strategic choices--the ads, speeches, rallies, and debates--and the chance circumstances of the election, especially the economy. In the Republican primary, the book shows, the electioneering and the media's restless attention did matter, producing a string of frontrunners. But when Obama and Mitt Romney finally squared off in the general election, there were few real game-changers. The candidates' billion-dollar campaigns were important but largely cancelled each other out, opening the way for Obama to do what incumbents usually do when running amid even modest economic growth: win.

An election book unlike any other, The Gamble is a must-read for political junkies, analysts, journalists, consultants, and academics.

Title:The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Jack

    This is a FANTASTIC political science book! BECAUSE it's not written for political scientists. The authors wrote this book to basically tell a more general crowd what factors decide presidential elect...

  • Joe

    This is a really good political science book for a lay audience, but the only way it could be drier is if it were printed on rice cakes. If you want horse-race, read 'Double Down.'...

  • Jonathan Bradley

    From American Review Issue No. 15 (http://americanreviewmag.com/books/A-...)At the tail end of the 2012 election campaign, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough let off some steam over stat-junkie wi...

  • Cole Simmons

    2012 is a good election to study because you get a little bit of everything: a contested primary (Republican) leading to a face-off against an incumbent (though in a situation where it was unclear if ...

  • Luke Goldstein

    Years after every election you can guarantee there will be book after book dissecting it and plotting out each factoid about how and why it went the way it did. By the time those books come out, there...

  • Beth

    I was happy to finish this.I'm giving this four stars because it is very wonkish, with lots of poll numbers and details, and all of it backed up with references. It is very thorough. However, it is al...

  • Bookworm

    In-depth look on the 2012 election There was much hullabaloo over the 2012 election. How did Obama win? Why did Romney feel so sure of himself? How could pollsters be so wrong? What about gaffes? What...

  • David Cooke

    I have trouble thinking about where to put this book because it wasn't at all what I thought it would be, but there were still interesting points in it.The good: It is a thorough examination of the ca...

  • Darbi Bradley

    I loved it, but I am suffering from the worst kind of bias. I bought the book because I had one of the authors (Sides) for two classes in college and I loved both. Also I love wonky, stats heavy stuff...

  • Rushi

    The points made in this book are worthy of praise. The authors do a good job of presenting the basic, and I mean layman basic, political theory and science behind the way the campaign unfolded and the...