Can you buy an election?

One more though following yesterday’s post about money in politics.

One of the most common objection to the current system is that money can be used to buy elections through, for example, producing negative ads about opponents.

I’m not convinced.

Look at what happened in the recent(ish) Iowa caucus for Republican candidate for President.

Rick Perry spent $4.3 million on ads there, Romney spent $1.5 million and Santorum spent $30,000. We all know what the result was.

This paper found that “campaign spending has an extremely small impact on election outcomes”.

In fact it seems like once you get above a certain threshold of cash raised any extra money you spend on campaigns really does not give you that much.

I am tempted to think that we should look at the amount of money a campaign has raised as one way of measuring how successful a campaign has been run up to this point rather than as a guarantee that they will continue to do will.

Of course, some campaigns are particularly inept and others might be very good at running attack ads but money itself is no guarantee that you will win a campaign.

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