Primary Elections

Barbara Norrander

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Primary Elections

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour



This article focuses on publications of primary elections from the last ten years. The candidate field for primaries contains diversity in both the strength and number of contenders. The direct primary literature actually does a better job at explaining candidate entry. Political science research from the 1980s and 1990s pointed to two main actors in momentum: media and voters. Campaign strategies are more varied and perhaps more effective in primaries rather than general elections. The impact of electoral rules is reported. The 2008 presidential nominations at first glance would appear to break from the pattern of recent nominations. The close contest between Obama and Clinton refocuses attention on the rules: rules for delegate distribution, rules for caucuses, and rules for participation (i.e., open versus closed primaries).

Keywords: primary elections; candidate; media; voters; campaign strategies; electoral rules; Obama; Clinton

Article.  6896 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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