Presentation Title

Competitive Districts: Campaign Finance Trends in the 2016 Race for the California State Legislature

Faculty Mentor

Kenneth Miller

Start Date

17-11-2018 2:30 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 2:45 PM

Location

C155

Session

Oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

In 2010, The Supreme Court’s historic decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission had monumental implications about the state of campaign finance. Since that decision, advocates have been concerned about the impact of dark money in politics and have reinvigorated interest in how campaigns spend their money and who donates. The Competitive Districts Project seeks to examine these questions by analyzing campaign finance trends from the 2016 election, a follow up project to a similar study conducted on 2014 election data. The project will analyze campaign expenditures, independent expenditures, and contributions data for individuals running for the California State Senate and State Assembly. The project relies on data from the Cal-Access campaign finance database, which is publicly available on the California Secretary of State’s website. The project’s primary goal is to examine the relationship between levels of spending and electoral outcomes. It also seeks to answer questions about how donations are spent, which professions are the most likely to donate money to a campaign, whether outside organizations are more likely to spend money on democrats or republicans, and create a spending timeline of campaign expenditures.

Summary of research results to be presented

The Competitive Districts project specifically examines levels of spending and donations in Assembly and Senate districts in California; we then examined whether spending levels would affect electoral outcomes. We analyzed our data to answer some of the questioned posed in our abstract and more; for example, we looked at the professions that overall donated the most to campaigns and looked and which professions were more likely to donate to a republican or a democrat. We also constructed spending timelines and graphics examining what independent expenditure actors and campaigns spent the most money, finding that campaign literature was generally the most expensive category. Over $100 million were spent by campaigns in in the 2016 election for state positions; this project aims to make sense of where that money went, where it came from, and who was involved in the process.

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Nov 17th, 2:30 PM Nov 17th, 2:45 PM

Competitive Districts: Campaign Finance Trends in the 2016 Race for the California State Legislature

C155

In 2010, The Supreme Court’s historic decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission had monumental implications about the state of campaign finance. Since that decision, advocates have been concerned about the impact of dark money in politics and have reinvigorated interest in how campaigns spend their money and who donates. The Competitive Districts Project seeks to examine these questions by analyzing campaign finance trends from the 2016 election, a follow up project to a similar study conducted on 2014 election data. The project will analyze campaign expenditures, independent expenditures, and contributions data for individuals running for the California State Senate and State Assembly. The project relies on data from the Cal-Access campaign finance database, which is publicly available on the California Secretary of State’s website. The project’s primary goal is to examine the relationship between levels of spending and electoral outcomes. It also seeks to answer questions about how donations are spent, which professions are the most likely to donate money to a campaign, whether outside organizations are more likely to spend money on democrats or republicans, and create a spending timeline of campaign expenditures.