With Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential Election, how money affects elections is on the minds of many political scientists. Contrary to conventional campaign wisdom, where the wealthier campaign always wins, Donald Trump was able to win with the far smaller and far poorer campaign. While US Presidential elections tend to be very large, a smaller gubernatorial election might be easier to look at. Forntually, the 2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election had a similar outcome to the 2016 US Presidential Election; the poorer campaign of Republican Chris Christie was able to beat the extremely well funded campaign of Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine. In some ways, Christie had it harder than Trump: New Jersey is typically seen as a Democratic state and Corzine was the incumbent governor.
All the data came from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s (ELEC) website. The ELEC provides all contributions and expenditures made by candidates for municipal and state elections in New Jersey. The candidates are legally required to correctly provide this data to the ELEC. The 2009 Gubernatorial data came on four different Excel spreadsheets: one for primary election contributions, one for primary election expenditures, one for general election contributions, and one for general election expenditures. I was able to combine these spreadsheets into two spreadsheets: a contributions and a expenditures spreadsheet. An Excel plugin to was needed to combine the spreadsheets. The contributions and expenditures spreadsheets could not be combined since they both report very different data. Then the data was cleaned in Excel, removing some of the unnecessary and not consistently reported columns, such as the middle initial column, from both spreadsheets.Return Home