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The Dog That Didn’t Bark: The Role of Canines in the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Using the most extensive data set available on the 2008 election, Mutz examines the impact of dog ownership on presidential vote preference.  Canines were elevated to the status of a campaign issue when, during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama publicly promised his daughters a dog after the election was over, a campaign promise that has since been fulfilled.  However, this announcement appears to have unintentionally highlighted the absence of a key point of identification between this candidate and voters, and thus to have significantly undermined the likelihood that dog-owning voters would support Obama.  Mutz elaborates on the implications of this finding for future presidential candidates.