Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Political Science

Advisor/Chair:

Damon Cann

Abstract

Open seat House of Representatives elections are an area that has not received the same attention as seats with incumbents, despite open seats traditionally providing more interesting results. This research examines partisan change in open seat House races from 2000-2014 in order to determine whether previous research is still applicable in light of changing behavior of open seats in the 2000s. This research found that since 2004 partisan change has occurred more often with incumbents being defeated and not due to open seats. A logit model was used with partisan change as the dichotomous dependent variable, a unique approach to House elections. The model found that candidate spending was the most significant variable in explaining partisan change, while other variables such as district competitiveness, candidate quality, and unemployment were also significant. The model was then used to predict the 2014 House elections, correctly predicting roughly 75% of races. Finally two case studies were examined where the model failed to provide accurate predictions to determine improvements that could be made to future iterations of the model

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