Campaign finance reform and the 1994 congressional elections Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Based on partisan arguments regarding the likely effect of campaign finance reform on electoral competition, one might suspect that, had spending limits been in place prior to the 1994 midterm elections, Republicans would not have been able to gain control of the House of Representatives. To examine this proposition, we first create a regression model designed to explain the Democratic percentage of the vote as a function of candidate spending, incumbency, nonincumbent candidate quality, and the underlying partisan leanings of the congressional districts. We then use this regression model to simulate the likely effects of campaign finance reform on the outcome of the 1994 midterm elections. Our results indicate that while spending limits would have limited the number of seats gained by the Republican party, Republicans likely would have gained control of the House of Representatives even if spending limits had been in place prior to the 1994 elections. In addition, our results indicate that campaign finance reform that includes some form of public subsidy in addition to spending limits actually may have enhanced rather than diminished the Republican earthquake in 1994.
  • Based on partisan arguments regarding the likely effect of campaign finance reform on electoral competition, one might suspect that, had spending limits been in place prior to the 1994 midterm elections, Republicans would not have been able to gain control of the House of Representatives. To examine this proposition, we first create a regression model designed to explain the Democratic percentage of the vote as a function of candidate spending, incumbency, nonincumbent candidate quality, and the underlying partisan leanings of the congressional districts. We then use this regression model to simulate the likely effects of campaign finance reform on the outcome of the 1994 midterm elections. Our results indicate that while spending limits would have limited the number of seats gained by the Republican party, Republicans likely would have gained control of the House of Representatives even if spending limits had been in place prior to the 1994 elections. In addition, our results indicate that campaign finance reform that includes some form of public subsidy in addition to spending limits actually may have enhanced rather than diminished the Republican "earthquake" in 1994.

published proceedings

  • POLICY STUDIES JOURNAL

author list (cited authors)

  • Gross, D. A., Shields, T. G., & Goidel, R. K.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Gross, DA||Shields, TG||Goidel, RK

publication date

  • June 1997

publisher