Monday, November 07, 2011

Mining the Mountain of Presidential Elections Publications

With television and online news coverage of the 2012 Election only increasing as next year's election day draws near -- but hopefully before Americans become oversaturated with election events -- now seems an opportune time to (re)introduce users to sources and publications about American Presidental Elections.

Clinton and Obama during the 2008 debates.  From AP Iamges.
Our patrons may already be aware that the Government Information Library offers a general guide to resources and useful government links on the issues of Elections and Voting, and they may even know that the GIL has presented pages in the past regarding specific election years, such as 2004 and 2006

At the same time, standard "go-to" government web sites like the Federal Election Commission help to illuminate the process of campaign financing, providing useful historical data, as well as information on donations put toward yet-to-be-decided events like the Presidential Elections of 2012The Stasitical Abstract of the United States (a publication some may remember is operating under the threat of extinction) offers data on campaign financing, too, but additionally provides overviews of voter participation, the apportionment of membership to the House of Representatives, and demographic characteristics of office holders in its section on Elections
The Presidents Bush (43rd and 41st) in 2008.  From AP Images.

From elesewhere around the Web, the University of California Santa barbara's American Presidency Project presents election data more visually at its Elections site, which extends as far back as the first election of a president in 1789 (one of only two U.S. presdiential elections decided by unanimous electoral vote -- though Thomas Jefferson's election to the office in 1804 came awfully close).  They also have a section on 2000's contested election to the office, with transcripts of key events and newscasts featuring both parties.

C-SPAN's Video Library site features over 18,000 programs in the Campaignan & Elections portion of its cataloge, including the now infamous concession of the 200 election by Vice President Al Gore to President-elect, George H. W. Bush.

With all this raw data available, some may surmise that there is no election in the world as well scrutinized as those deciding the President of the Unites States.  And that assumption would have to include more narrative contributions from media journalists over the years, many of whom offer well researched and well documented accounts of the behind-the-scenes events that often decide the canidates Americans are later asked to choose between.  Below are just a few of the literally hundreds of titles offered in the CU Boulder system on some of our country's more recent presidential elections.  Check them out! And for more data or publications about a particular election, stop in to the Government Information Library or the Norlin Library Rsearch Desk.

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the race of a lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (Click here for more titles on the 2008 Election).

Bush versus Kerry : a functional analysis of campaign 2004 by William L. Benoit (More about the 2004 Election).

The Race to 270 : the Electoral College and the campaign strategies of 2000 and 2004 by Daron R. Shaw (and more on the 2000 Election).

What it Takes: the way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer (More on the 1988 election).

Reagan's victory : the presidential election of 1980 and the rise of the right by Andrew E. Busch (More on the 1980 election).

Finally, Theodore H. White wrote the series "The Making of the President" for elections in the years 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972

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