Throwing your words around: Stump speeches, health care, and issue salience in the 2007-2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign

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Claire Haeg, Political Science


Throughout the 2007-2008 Democratic presidential primaries, polling indicated that voters considered health care a pertinent issue, even though there was no causal event, as was the case with Iraq, recession, etc. To what extent did the candidates, and their rhetoric, determine which issues were considered important by voters? This paper examines the frequency with which three major candidates mentioned health care before and during the primaries, and compares this with polling data, tracking candidate progress and the salience of health care through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to analyze the correlation between stump speeches and a campaign's ultimate success.

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