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Voter Mobilization 101: Presidential Campaign Visits to Colleges and Universities in the 2016 Election

  • Christopher J. Devine (a1)
Abstract

Presidential candidates frequently hold campaign events on college and university campuses. Yet, the frequency of and motivations for holding these events on-campus has not been subject to systematic empirical analysis. This article analyzes an original database of presidential campaign visits in 2016 to determine how often and why the candidates held their events on-campus. I find that colleges and universities hosted more campaign visits (16.9%) than any other type of venue in 2016. Also, the Democratic candidates apparently used these visits to mobilize young people to register and vote. Democrats (29.5%) visited campuses far more often than Republicans (8.2%), and—unlike Republicans—Democrats were significantly more likely to hold events on-campus, instead of at another venue, as the host-state’s voter registration deadline, its early voting period, or Election Day neared. This research informs scholars’ understanding of the role that young people, as well as colleges and universities, play in American electoral politics.

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References
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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