Stop Wasting Your Campaign Dollars

Why a dollar spent on a challenger is worth more than a dollar to an incumbent.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine isn't worried about her underfunded Democratic challenger.

At The Upshot, Lynn Vavreck reviews new evidence supporting the old but important finding that a dollar given to challengers is worth more than a dollar for incumbents. It's a story of diminishing returns. Even partisans hesitate to back a candidate they've never heard of, so candidate spending to establish name recognition is effective. Moreover, voters are more likely to back a candidate after they learn one or two positive things about him or her, so disseminating information through ads or direct mail is helpful. Spreading negative information about the opposition can be effective, too.

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