One who competes against the holder of a office/position
a primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote
the tendency for a popular political party leader to attract votes for other candidates of the same party in an election. For example, in the United States, the party of a victorious presidential candidate will often win many seats in Congress as well; these congressmen are voted into office "on the coattails" of the president.
A behavior in which voters who normally participate in the primary of one party instead vote in the primary of another party. The behavior typically happens when the nominee of the one party is a foregone conclusion or when a candidate in one party's primary has an appeal to the voters in another party.
Consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States
poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll asks whom the voter actually voted for.
A candidate who holds a state's votes together at a convention for brokerage purposes; not a serious candidate for the presidency, but one who seeks a trading position with a chance a compromise candidate or vice president.
The practice of scheduling state party caucuses and state primary elections earlier and earlier in advance of the general election. By moving their primaries to early dates, states hope to lend decisive momentum to one or two presidential candidates and thus have disproportionate influence on each party's nomination.
The leading contender for a nomination
In recent elections, American women have tended to vote in patterns different from those of men, often preferring Democratic to Republican candidates or candidates on the more liberal side of the political spectrum. The press has dubbed this phenomenon the "gender gap."
Elections to vote on candidates for office; not primaries; ex. presidential election, for congress, etc.
In office; an elected official running against a challenger
Also known more colloquially as "mudslinging", is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy rather than emphasizing one's own positive attributes or preferred policies.
a primary election that does not require voters to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote for partisan candidates.
A race without an incumbent is referred to as an open seat.
The political support provided to a candidate on the basis of personal popularity and networks.
An electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not recieve a majority; used in almost all American elections.
an election in which party members or voters select candidates for an election.
is the process of re-allocating the political power of a set of constituent voters among their representatives in a governing body.
a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal.
a seat in a legislative body (e.g., Congress, Parliament, City Council) which is regarded as fully secured, either by a certain political party, the incumbent representative personally or a combination of both. In such seats, there is very little chance of a seat changing hands because of the political leanings of the electorate in the constituency concerned and/or the popularity of the incumbent member. The opposite (i.e. more competitive) type of seat is a marginal seat.
refers to a ballot on which the voter has chosen candidates from different political parties when multiple offices are being decided by a single election. Split-ticket voting is in contrast to straight-ticket voting in which a voter chooses candidates from the same political party for every office on the ballot.
refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and, accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination.
a legal restriction that limits the number of terms a person may serve in a particular elected office.
the single winner is the person with the most votes; gets all the state's convention or electoral college delegates.
527 campaign committee
An old name for SuperPACs
direct donations to the candidate; regulated by FEC; cannot exceed $2,500
McCain-Feingold Act (Shays-Meehan)
Overturned in 2010; Banned soft money; interest groups cannot fund "electioneering communications" 60 days before general election/ 30 days before primary
Political Action Committee (PAC)
The "checkbook" for interest groups; an organization in the United States that campaigns for or against political candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation. At the federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives more than $1,000 according to the Federal Election Campaign Act. At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state's election laws.
indirect donations to the candidate- to their SuperPAC; not regulated by FEC; can exceed $2,500; money can come from union and corporation treasuries
Large PACs; raise unlimited sums from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups.
Any voluntary association that seeks to publicly promote and create advantages for its cause. It applies to a vast array of diverse organizations. This includes corporations, charitable organizations, civil rights groups, neighborhood associations, professional and trade associations.
Advocacy of a point of view, either by groups or individuals.
People whose business is trying to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest who hires them or they volunteer for.
Public interest group
A group that exist for the express purpose of pursuing public interests that would not otherwised be pursued. Examples include Common Cause (a group that promotes campaign finance reform) and Public Citizen (a broad consumer advocacy group).
Caucus (local party)
A closed meeting of party policy makers to nominate candidates and vote on legislation.
A political party that favors greater government action than its conservative opposition does, to direct and promote the welfare of the people in the republic it often governs
Drawing of political lines by the party in power so as to perpetuate its power; designing a district to fit a voting pattern.
National nominating conventions
A convention to select the party's nominee for President, as well as to adopt a statement of party principles and goals known as the platform and adopt the rules for the party's activities, including the presidential nominating process for the next election cycle.
A trend or process whereby a large portion of the electorate abandons its previous partisan affiliation, without developing a new one to replace it.
Party identification is a political term to describe a voter's underlying allegiance to a political party. The term was first used in the United States in the 1950s, but use of the term has decreased in usage as the process of party dealignment has accelerated.
The list of principles and positions designed to attract most and offend least.
Sharp, lasting shift in the popular coalition supporting one or both parties
a political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses (usually campaign workers), who receive rewards for their efforts. The power of the machine is based on the ability of the workers to get out the vote for their candidates on election day.
an organization to gain political power and get candidates elected.
Voters who are heavily influenced by religion and vote for conservative candidates and measures.
A party whose center of gravity is more conservative, more resistant to radical change.
are seated automatically, based solely on their status as current (Republican and Democratic) or former (Democratic only) party leaders and elected officials ("PLEOs"). Others are chosen during the primary season. All the superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the nomination. They may or may not have made a commitment to vote for a candidate.
A political party organized as an alternative to the major parties in a two-party system. They may or may not have an effect on the turn-outs of elections.
A system where two major political parties contend against one-another. In American thinking, a happy medium between tyrannical one-party control and an anarchic profusion of splinter parties.