The role of the economy in the 2008 presidential election

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What is the role of economy in the 2008 presidential election?

Before Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States, the race for the White House appeared to be very different than any other elections. A huge economic crisis resulting from the collapses of large financial institutions struck the country more than anyone could have ever predicted. Such a criticalsituation had never been reached before. In order to deal with the new orientation of the political campaign, the two candidates for the presidential election Barack Obama and John McCain had to face a massive and catastrophic economic situation: “In August 2008, the unemployment rate was 6.1%—the highest level since September 2003, (…). Credit card defaults rose to 5.5% of all credit card debt by thesecond quarter of 2008, an increase of 14.7% from the first quarter of 2001. (…) In the second quarter of 2008, the trade deficit was at 5.0% of gross domestic product for the third quarter in a row.” More aspects have led to the recession of the American economy and later the world economy. In such circumstances, it seems spurious and interesting to study the role of the economy in the 2008presidential election. In such period of economical uncertainty, the financial system may have played an important part in the election of Barack Obama. Four authors analyzed the influence of the economy in the outcome of the 2008 presidential campaign. Each of them links the result of the campaign to a specific role of the economy. Three main results emerged from these findings.First, Obama approval has been profoundly influenced by a fading economy. Secondly, the closer we approach the election time the bigger the economy matters for the public opinion and the convergence of “economic pessimism” in the electoral is very high. Thirdly, the influence in the valence and position issues highly influenced the turnout of the election.
Linn, Moody and Asper propose a firstlook at the role of the economy in the 2008 election. They consider that the main issues during the campaign were focused on areas as the economy, presidential approval, the Iraq war, and some campaign events. At that particular moment, these issues were important because they were at stake, because such a great depression has not been experienced for a very long time. Related to this aspect, theauthors put an emphasis on another characteristic: the presidential election saw a renewal and regain of interest in issues dealing with the economy. Usually people do not take care of such considerations. The authors then ask the crucial question of why the United States of America see such regain of interest. Part of the answer is given in the previous article, but is broadened and specified inHolbrook’s piece. The former article underlines campaign events and media coverage are crucial elements in the horse race of 2008. For its authors, the economy and the presidential approval are the main factors which changed the issue of the campaign. In the end, Linn, Moody and Asper’s article minimizes the effect of the coverage on economy and regards only overall coverage of the campaign ashaving an impact of the final vote whereas Holbrook highlights the impact of the media coverage of the economy on the campaign. In a broad sense, the media makes “some issues more accessible than others.” He specifies later that the media reduces the general lack of knowledge of the population, and helps them (according to their own perception of what the media has told them) to react positively ornegatively while watching a newscast. The media then encourage voting due to the economy depending on extent of coverage. Because the economic situation was at stake during the presidential election year, people were more willing to listen or read the news, to take a step forward regarding the issue, and make a decision. Figure two of Holbrook’s article demonstrates clearly this specific aspect...
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