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Barack Obama Victory

The book is well organized, first establishing the political and economic context, then tackling the campaign’s overall themes, then showing the evolving discourse through five stages in the campaign (starting in June of ’08), and analyzing the effects of early/absentee voting, microtargeting, and new media influences. There are charts and graphs aplenty, with attendant footnotes. The style is straightforward, peppered in places with folksy images that complement more analytical passages, and even including, at one point, an apology for employing terms of art like “explained variance.” The book is at its most technical in the 12th chapter, which covers microtargeting (and features the work of co-author Chris Adasiewicz) and in the Appendix, which quantifies the nonstop nature of the campaign by calculating “delay effects” in media absorption.

Kenski, Hardy, and Jamieson’s The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Elections provides a scrupulous and revealing analysis of the 2008 presidential election campaigns. They draw heavily on data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which Jamieson directs and at which
Hardy is a senior research analyst. The authors exhaustively examine information on voter favorability and public opinion during the campaigns, focusing on the five months leading up to the general election, and offering an extensive analysis of how media, money, and messaging affected voters’ opinions of the candidates. This volume is not for the politically faint of heart, but The Obama Victory likely will be viewed in the future as the go-to source for a comprehensive perspective on the election of Barack Obama as the 44
the President of the United States.

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