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The Swing Voter in American Politics

The Swing Voter in American Politics
William G. Mayer, Ed.
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2008
JK1967 .S95 2008

"Swing voters" occupy a central place in American political lore. Candidates court them, consultants target them, and pundits speculate constantly on which way they'll lean. But nobody has adequately defined them as a group. What exactly is a swing voter? No one really seems to know.

The Swing Voter in American Politics fills this conceptual gap by bringing political scientists and pollsters together to answer four basic questions:

  1. What is a swing voter?
  2. How can analysts use survey data to identify them?
  3. How do swing voters differ - if at all - from the rest of the electorate?
  4. What role do they play in determining the outcomes of contemporary elections?

Drawing on a wide range of sources, including American National Election Studies data, Gallup polls, Pew Center surveys, and the National Annenberg Election Survey, the authors track swing voters across six decades and in national and local elections. The result is an unprecedented picture of this key political group.

Quoted from dustjacket.