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Thinking Outside the Quality Box: The Impact of Candidate Motivations on Election Outcomes
American Review of Politics (2006)
  • Doug D. Roscoe
  • Shannon Jenkins
  • John Frendreis, Loyola University Chicago
  • Alan Gitelson, Loyola University Chicago

Explanations for election outcomes have commonly included incumbency and candidate quality. While these explanations have been successful, they do not wholly explain who wins or loses. To move beyond the concepts of incumbency and quality, a typology of candidates is developed based on their motivations for running. Hierarchical cluster analysis is employed to examine open-ended responses from state legislative candidates in nine states. The resulting typologies are found to be connected to influences on candidate emergence and perceptions of factors that influenced the election outcome. They also prove to be statistically significant predictors of election victory even when controlling for incumbency, quality, spending and campaign professionalism. The findings should encourage others to move beyond conventional explanations of election outcomes.

  • state legislative elections,
  • candidate motivations
Publication Date
Spring 2006
Citation Information
Doug D. Roscoe, Shannon Jenkins, John Frendreis and Alan Gitelson. "Thinking Outside the Quality Box: The Impact of Candidate Motivations on Election Outcomes" American Review of Politics Vol. 27 (2006)
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