Do Campaigns Matter? The US Presidential Campaign in Comparative Perspective

"I've always felt it [data] was overrated [...] Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me."
Donald J. Trump, Interview with the Associated Press, 10 May 2016.


This course takes the example of the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign, the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, to introduce students to the main theories and methods of studying modern election campaigns in the United States and in Western Europe. Students further learn about the major cornerstones of a modern, data-driven election campaign and gain the skills to evaluate different campaign tactics and strategies. The course addresses the question if and how campaigns matter. It aims to equip students with an understanding of both the larger social and political trends, and the methods and the science driving the 2016 Presidential Election.

The course features several distinguished guest speakers working in politics and campaign analytics on both sides of the pond including:

  • Kevin Collins (Director of Research, Analyst Institute, Washington DC)
  • Rowenna Davis (former Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Southampton)
  • Marco Kistler (Head of Movement Politics, Swiss Social Democratic Party, Bern).
Auditors welcome (subject to availability). Please contact me if you would like to audit the course.