Impact of Campaign Expenditures and Contributions on Voter Turnout during the 2012 U.S. Congressional Elections
United States political campaigns use a variety of methods to drive voters to the polls, and many require a fiscal expenditure to operate. Past studies have attempted to establish a link between increasing campaign expenditures and increasing voter turnout. While there is evidence that this relationship exists to some degree, these studies fail to examine how campaign contributions impact turnout. Using data from all 2012 congressional candidates who made a filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), in combination with information from the U.S. Census Bureau to provide district- or state-based information, I examined the campaign expenditures as well as the five contribution types as detailed by the FEC: self-contributions, loans, individual contributions, political party contributions, and political committee contributions. Of those six distinct financial variables, I found that only political party contributions were a significant predictor of turnout. My results underscore how political parties, and their corporate donors, have a disproportionate impact on turnout in congressional elections.
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