The Journal of Politics

Research Notes

The Effect of the AFL-CIO's “Voter Education” Campaigns on the 1996 House Elections

Gary C. Jacobsona1

a1 University of California, San Diego


Analysis of the effects of the AFL-CIO's “voter education” campaigns aimed at House Republicans in 1996 indicates that they were highly effective against targeted freshmen but not against more senior Republicans. Indeed, labor can plausibly claim responsibility for defeating a majority of the first-term losers. Thus, money spent outside the regular campaigns on “voter education” can have a major effect on election results, especially if it is spent against incumbents. Labor's efforts did not succeed in delivering the House to the Democrats, however, because too many of the Democratic candidates and campaigns fell too far short on their own for labor's help to put them over the top.

(Accepted March 17 1997)

(Received January 12 1998)

Gary C. Jacobson is professor of political science, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093-0521.