Election outcomes are influenced both by electoral campaigns and economic and political “fundamentals”. This course examines the factors that influence when structural conditions like the economy or strategies in campaigns matter most. How much does the economy impact the vote in different political settings? What are the best campaign strategies for incumbents and various other challengers in different economic and political settings? When do political ads succeed and how do parties and elites influence public opinion? What are the implications of declining party identification in Germany and Europe? When and how do policy or re-election goals influence governing party policies? Which voters respond to campaigns and how do various types of voters form political preferences? The course addresses these questions through a mix of academic research, concrete case studies and active participation.