Predicting Political Races By The Money

Money is a leading predictor of political success:

  • Money spent is a causal mechanism for increasing name recognition and causing turnout. It is a strongly contributing factor to candidate favorability as well.
  • Money raised is an indicator of favorability and name recognition.
  • When money spent is high but money raised is low, which is the case in self-funding races, the candidate can still be highly effective, but having money raised and spent is best.

  • Money raised and spent also indicates race importance and competitiveness.

The problem with using money raised and spent over the course of a campaign as an indicator of future success is that you often don’t know in advance how much money will be raised and spent!

The trick is found in the term “EMILY’s List.” EMILY is an acronym for, “Early Money is Like Yeast.” In other words, early funding begins a positive feedback loop of funding and political success. This effect has been variously referred to as a momentum effect, a feedback effect, a yeast effect, or a snowball effect.

In conclusion, we can use data on money raised so far to predict what the total raised will eventually be, and anticipate success probabilities from that information.

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