I left off the other day having predicted that Indiana would have received a much greater share (nearly 60 times greater) of candidate attention during the 2004 Democratic primaries and caucuses had the Hoosier state government opted to move their presidential primary from May to the earliest possible, non-exempt date (February 3). That Indiana would have gotten what amounted to about 5.25% of the total candidate attention -- in terms of both candidates visits and ad buys -- did not really leave us with any hard numbers in terms of what the state tangibly would have received. Instead of collectively then, let's look at the percentage of candidate ad buys and visits individually and parse this out a bit.
The model(s) here is (are) the same as it was in the previous post. All that is changing is the dependent variable. The result is that we'll construct two separate models (visits and ad buys) to get a clearer picture of what Indiana would have gotten out of an earlier presidential primary in 2004. Let's start with ad buys...
A Model Based on Candidate Ad Buys
|Regression Analysis of State-level Ad Buy Shares (2004)|
|Explanation of Measurement|
|Delegates||.026||1.87||Percentage of total Democratic delegates|
|Timing||.0001||106/15||Number of days since first contest|
|Primary?||.941||1||Dichotomous: 0 = Caucus|
1 = Primary
|Candidates||2.117***||2/7||Number of candidates vying for nomination at time of contest|
|Events/Day||1.569***||0/7||Number of other simultaneous events|
|Events/Week||-2.034***||0/7||Number of other events in the same week (Wednesday-Tuesday)|
|Neighbors?||.018||0/0||Percentage of neighboring states holding simultaneous events|
|Ad Buys (DV)||--||0||Average percentage of candidate ad buys|
|R2 = .63 | n = 41 | Significance: *.05 **.01 ***<.01|
In the 41 states where ad data was available for 2004, the number of candidates in the race during a particular contest and the number of events during a given Wednesday-Tuesday campaign week were significant factors (...as they were in the cumulative model). However, the number of simultaneous primaries and caucuses was also significant in this case. As was the case previously, though, the resultant relationship runs counter to what was hypothesized. It was expected that as the number of contests on any given day increases, the amount of attention -- in this case candidate ad buys -- would decrease. Again, this may have much to do with the high level of correlation between both "events" variables. To check this out, I ran the model twice more but without the events/day variable in one and the events/week variable in the other. In the events/day model, that variable loses its statistical significance, but the relationship with candidate ad buys is in the hypothesized direction. In the alternate model, events/week remains both statistically significant and in the hypothesized direction.
Before we get into interpreting what we see in the table above or the prediction, let me at least mention the model's fit. Performance-wise, this collection of variables explains nearly two-thirds of the variation in ad buy shares across states. That is an improvement over what was witnessed in the overall attention model. But effect of the statistically significant variables is largely the same (...save the events/day variable). A one candidate increase in the number of active candidates in the race creates an added 2.1% ad buy share for a state. Additionally, a one state increase in the number of states in a given Wednesday-Tuesday campaign week makes for a 2% decrease in a state's ad buy share. Beyond that, primary states got a bump of nearly 1% increase in their ad buy share over caucus states. Though that isn't a statistically significant finding it is substantively significant.
Fine, but what about Indiana? If the state had held its presidential primary on February 3, how much would the state's ad buy share have increased? After adjusting the timing (15 days after Iowa), the number of active candidates at the time of the contest (7), the number of other simultaneous events (7) and the number of other events in the same campaign week (7) variable values to reflect the that primary shift, Indiana would have significantly improved its stock. The Hoosier state had no ads bought/aired on its airwaves for its May primary (and thus a 0% share of the total ad buys). In February, however, the state's share of overall ad buys would have increased to nearly 8%, going from no ads to over 3000 ads aired. The other states holding delegate selection events on the same date (excluding Delaware and North Dakota because they had no data) averaged about 2700 ads aired. And while Indiana is predicted to have exceeded that number, the average of actual ads was weighted down by a relatively low number of ads aired in Missouri ahead of the Show-Me state's primary (see Gephardt discussion from the previous post).
Basically then, Indiana moves from getting nothing in May to garnering -- as the other states on the date had individually -- about half the ad buys as Iowa did to kick off the 2004 campaign.
A Model Based on Candidate Visits
And what about the other piece of the puzzle, candidate visits to the state? The results here are very similar to what we saw in the candidate ad buys model above.
|Regression Analysis of State-level Visit Shares (2004)|
|Explanation of Measurement|
|Delegates||.851||1.87||Percentage of total Democratic delegates|
|Timing||-.016||106/15||Number of days since first contest|
|Primary?||.156||1||Dichotomous: 0 = Caucus|
1 = Primary
|Candidates||1.414*||2/7||Number of candidates vying for nomination at time of contest|
|Events/Day||.855||0/7||Number of other simultaneous events|
|Events/Week||-1.627*||0/7||Number of other events in the same week (Wednesday-Tuesday)|
|Neighbors?||.020||0/0||Percentage of neighboring states holding simultaneous events|
|Visits (DV)||--||0.18||Average percentage of candidate visits|
|R2 = .43 | n = 50 | Significance: *.05 **.01 ***<.01|
Overall, the visits model isn't as good of a fit as the ads model. The included variables account for only 43% of the variation in the number of visits to a state (and that's despite the fact that there was visits data for all 50 states). However, the same basic group of variables was significant. Again, it is all about the number of candidates actively competing for the nomination at the time of a contest and the number of events in a week that matter at least statistically. The same phenomenon we saw above in terms of the two events variables is at play in this model as well. Namely, the events/week variable is significant and its relationship with visits is in the predicted direction, but events/day is neither significant nor in the hypothesized direction. Excluding each from the model has the same effect as well. Events/week doesn't change while events/day approaches statistical significance and has a negative effect on the number of visits to a state (as hypothesized).
Finally, a state's percentage of delegates also has a significant impact on a candidate deciding to touch down and actually campaign in a state. For each 1% increase in a state's share of delegates, the average state receives a bonus .85% of candidates visit shares. No, that doesn't seem like much, but the hypothetical difference between Indiana and, say, California would be 7% of the overall number of visits (based on delegates alone).
If Indiana would have moved its presidential primary to the earliest possible date in 2004, though, what would its share of candidate visits have been? The increase wasn't as great as it was in the case of ads, but Indiana's share of overall candidate visits increased nearly four and three-quarters percent by hypothetically shifting its presidential primary from May to February in 2004. At 4.69%, Indiana's predicted February share of candidate visits was 26 times greater than it was in actuality in May. A mere 6 candidate visits in May would have been nearly 160 visits had the Indiana primary been on February 3. The other seven states on February 3 averaged 57 visits, so the Indiana prediction greatly exceeds that average. The problem there is that the seven state average includes the depressed totals from Delaware and Missouri and the complete absence of visits to North Dakota for the state's caucuses. With those three states dropped from the average, the February 3 states averaged 88 candidate visits. Indiana, then, would have had a share of visits on par but shy of the number of visits South Carolina received on the same date.
In 2004, Indiana could have significantly improved the amount of attention it received from the candidates in the race had it shifted its presidential primary from May to February; going from 0 to 3051 ads aired and 6 to 158 candidate visits. But 2004 was unique in the opportunity it provided states in regard to moving delegate selection events in exchange for the spoils of the system. Only the Democratic Party had a contested nomination and their allowing for February contests opened the door for states to move, but only a handful of states took advantage of that rule change. However, those states on average increased their share of candidate attention. Yet that was probably a one and done proposition as many more states joined those seven at the front of the queue in 2008. The result was that those states saw a drop in the amount of attention each received. So, while Indiana could have significantly increased the attention the state received in 2004, that same increase would not have been available to the state in 2008 or in 2012 simply because, unless the rules change to regulate which states go when, there will be too much competition at the earliest allowable date (February 7, 2012).
The lesson? If the party rules change to allow for early dates, a state would be smart to move earlier rather than later to capture an increased share of candidate attention. Of course, Indiana was not in the most advantageous position prior to 2004. The Indiana House was controlled by Democrats who could potentially have been interested in moving the state's primary date for a competitive Democratic nomination (but never introduced a bill to do so). However, the state Senate was controlled by the Republicans. Had a bill to move the primary been introduced, the divided legislature could have proven a significant obstruction to such a move. It may, then, appear that Indiana missed an opportunity prior to 2004, regardless of legislative politics.
Up next? The 2000 primaries.
Michael Steele by the Numbers
GOP Temporary Delegate Selection Committee for 2012
Should Indiana Frontload in 2012? (Part One)