A review of the evidence leaves no doubt election campaigns do matter in a variety of important ways. The serious questions concern when, where, why, how, for what, and for whom they matter. This essay reviews a selection of high-quality studies that address these questions, focusing on several distinct lines of research that have been particularly productive in recent years: on the effects of events and advertising in presidential elections; on the effects of campaign spending in elections for down-ballot offices; on the effects of mobilization campaigns on voting turnout; on campaign influences on the vote choice (with special attention to the effects of negative campaigns); and on the nature of persuadable voters. It also offers some suggestions of areas where additional research should be productive.


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