J. Langston and G. Rosas, “Risky Business: Where do Presidential Campaigns Visit?”, Electoral Studies, 55, 2018.
We build on existing theories about why presidential candidates organize rallies to understand where they are likely to organize them. We conjecture that the possibility of a failed rally is an important factor driving these choices. When a candidate is ahead in the campaign, her team will organize rallies in all localities regardless of their partisan affinity because the risk of a failed event is relatively low. In contrast, a candidate who lags behind her competitors will tend to visit and hold rallies in localities where she can be sure of pre-existing electoral and party support. This latter behavior is counter-intuitive, as one might expect trailing candidates to “go for broke” and target competitive localities to build her support in different areas. We find evidence consistent with this logic in Mexican presidential campaigns.