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Interest Groups in American Campaigns

The New Face of Electioneering

Third Edition

Mark J. Rozell, Clyde Wilcox, and Michael M. Franz

Publication Date - December 2011

ISBN: 9780199829798

192 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $49.99

The only book of its kind, this concise and accessible volume shows how interest groups play a critical role in U.S. elections


In today's era of greatly divisive partisanship in Washington, interest groups have become increasingly powerful forces in U.S. politics. In races for the presidency, Congress, and state legislatures, these groups often help to elect--or reelect--candidates who support their causes and views. Now in its third edition, Interest Groups in American Campaigns: The New Face of Electioneering focuses on the key role that interest groups play in U.S. elections. Authors Mark J. Rozell, Clyde Wilcox, and Michael M. Franz present an extensive analysis based on interviews with interest group leaders, campaign finance filings, and election surveys. Opening with an introduction to the nature of our federal election system, they then examine how interest groups ally themselves with political parties and influence candidate nominations and party platforms. The authors also describe how interest groups interact with political candidates--by contributing money, goods, and services to campaigns--and with their own members and the broader electorate--through social networking, Tweeting, Internet advertising, television ads, direct mail, and phone calls. Throughout the book, diverse and compelling examples clearly illustrate how interest groups operate in the real world.

Revised and updated, the third edition of Interest Groups in American Campaigns delves into the 2010 election campaign; recent reforms and campaign finance laws that have substantially changed the roles played by interest groups; and how these recent changes will affect the 2012 races for federal offices.

New to this Edition

  • Substantially updated the examples throughout the book on the role of groups in elections
  • Completely revised sections on campaign finance laws to reflect major new legal decisions and how groups have adapted their strategies in response to rules changes
  • Added 527s and other groups that are newly prominent

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2011
October 2005
September 1998


"I wouldn't think of teaching my interest group course without Interest Groups in American Campaigns."--Kevin W. Hula, Loyola College in Maryland

"If you want students to understand why interest groups matter outside of lobbying the legislature, have them read this book."--John M. Bruce, University of Mississippi

"This is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of American democracy."--Paul Freedman, University of Virginia

Table of Contents

    Chapters 2-5 end with a Summary.
    Chapter 1. Introduction: Interest Groups and American Politics
    A Brief History of Interest Groups in Elections
    Diverse Groups, Diverse Goals
    The One, the Few, or the Many? Interest Groups and American Politics
    Interest Groups and the American Political System
    Characteristics of American Government
    Characteristics of American Parties
    Characteristics of American Elections
    Regulations, Goals, and Resources
    Strategies and Tactics
    How this Book is Organized
    Chapter 2. Interest Groups and Political Parties
    The Strategic Context: Regulations, Goals, and Resources
    Recruiting and Training Candidates
    Approaches to Recruitment
    Training Methods
    The Presidential Nomination Process
    Delegate Selection
    The National Conventions
    Influencing Party Platforms
    State Party Conventions
    Financing Convention Activities
    Chapter 3. Interest Groups and Candidates
    The Strategic Context: Regulations, Goals, and Resources
    The Evolution of Campaign Finance Regulation
    Goals and Resources
    PACs: An Overview
    Who Forms PACs and Why
    PAC Resources
    PAC Contribution Strategies
    Influences on Strategic Selection
    Influences on PAC Decision Making
    Giving Beyond the Limit
    Bundling and Coordinated Contributing
    Giving to Affiliated Organizations
    Contributions to Parties
    Contributions of Goods and Services
    Chapter 4. Interest Groups and Voters
    The Strategic Context: Regulations, Goals, and Resources
    The Endorsement Decision
    Contested Endorsements
    Endorsements and Voting Decisions
    Hit Lists
    Ratings, Scorecards, and Voters' Guides
    Voter Mobilization
    Independent Expenditures s
    Issue Advocacy and Electioneering Communications
    The 2010 Elections in Context
    Referenda and Initiatives
    Chapter 5. Evaluating the Role of Interest Groups in Elections
    Positive and Negative Aspects of Interest Group Involvement
    Interest Groups and Political Parties
    Interest Groups and Candidates
    Interest Groups and Voters
    Reforming the System
    Interest Groups and Parties
    Interest Groups, Candidates, and Voters
    Directions for Campaign Finance Reform
    Underlying Assumptions
    Goals of Reform
    Keywords, phrases, and concepts