Syllabus, POSC 206-01

                                                                  Campaign 2008

                                    T 2:00 to 4:30 p.m., Administration Building, Room 309


Instructor:    James A. White, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Administration Building, Room 214, 384-6061;

Office hours:  MWF 11:00‑-12:00 noon, TTh 1:00--2:00 p.m., and by appointment





Paul Abramson, John Aldrich, and David Rohde, Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 Elections, CQ Press, 2007.


Gary Jacobson, The Politics of Congressional Elections, 7th edition, Pearson Education, 2009.




This course will allow students to view the contemporary practice of electoral politics in America with particular focus on key issues including campaign finance, partisanship, political participation, and incumbency advantage.  Collectively, the class will follow every race for federal office during the 2008 election; this will be accomplished by having students individually follow races for the House and/or Senate in at least one and in no more than six states.  Close and comprehensive examination of electoral practice will illuminate and refine discussion of American political theory, with the goal of enhancing understanding of the relationships between campaigns and governance.  Students successfully completing the course should be well-prepared not only for informed participation in the American political system but also for further academic study of and professional employment within that system.





Each student must obtain a “” e-mail address and participate in the course as directed via Blackboard.  Students must complete and be prepared to discuss all assigned readings.  While no prior computer-related experience is required, students will be expected to use regularly and adeptly spreadsheet and/or database programs as well as all available internet resources.  Additionally, students must participate in class, complete all written assignments, and take a final examination.  All written assignments must be submitted by the beginning of the class period on the due date, and exams must be taken at the scheduled date and time.


Attendance and Class Participation


Students must attend class and will be expected to be thoroughly familiar with and prepared to discuss the campaigns they have been assigned.  Students will also be expected to participate in dialogues with other students regarding the campaigns.  Students will be expected to present to the class on a regular basis.


Written Assignments


Each student must maintain, in a ringed, notebook binder, written documentation regarding assigned campaigns, organized logically and appropriately.  Written documentation must include both aggregate data (including, but not limited to, information about partisanship, incumbency, campaign finance, polling, Congressional Quarterly risk ratings, and turnout) on all the campaigns being followed as well as specific information on each campaign.  This written documentation will be collected and graded twice during the semester:  a midterm submission is due September 30th and a final submission is due December 9th.


Final Examination


Final examination will be comprehensive in nature, including material covered throughout the course.


Failure to adhere to College policy on academic integrity will not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.




The instructor will grade each assignment, assigning A's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and minor concepts, B's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and most minor concepts, C's for work demonstrating mastery of all major and some minor concepts, D's for work demonstrating mastery of only some major concepts, and F's for work demonstrating mastery of no major concepts.     


The final class grade will be determined as follows:






Class participation and presentations



Mid-term notebook evaluation



Final notebook evaluation



Final exam






August 26:  Introduction to Campaign 2004


September 2—November 4:  Campaign 2004

     Individual readings and discussion of periodicals.


November 11–18:  The Politics of Congressional Elections

     Jacobson, all.


December 2-9:  Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 [and 2008] Elections

Abramson, et. al., all.