Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Money Does Not Buy Elections

From EconLog, "Money Has Little Influence on U.S. Politics" by Garett Jones:
If incumbents won or lost it wasn't because of differences in campaign spending. But in crude regressions, it looked like money mattered for challengers. Now, with fancier regressions, it appears money matters little for challengers as well, especially in well-studied, data-heavy House elections.
Short version: Too many multi-millionaires lose.

But conventional wisdom, especially among progressives, is that money can buy elections. The Citizens United case was supposed to be the end of democracy since it meant unlimited corporate spending on elections. If money really did buy office, 2012 should have been great evidence for the hypothesis.

Instead 2012 looks like a case study in the powerlessness of money, in the triumph of the autonomous voter. For instance, the Sunlight Foundation reports that 2/3 of outside cash was spent on losers.

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