Political Science ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study is to investigate the decision-making mechanism which operated in a Democratic primary campaign for minor state office (Iieutenant-governor, attorney-general, secretary of state, land commissioner, and corporation commissioner) in New Mexico in 1970. Though the study is primarily a case study, the particular campaign is cast in the framework of game theory, utilizing some of the conceptual tools of game theory and analyzed in terms of players, strategies, communications, the payoff system, and the game environment.

A detailed description of the campaign setting or environment is included. This game factor is delineated into the political culture of New Mexico, the nature of primary elections in New Mexico, and the long ballot in the state. In each case the campaign constraints which accompany each sub-factor are noted.

More specifically, the investigation analyzes the decision mechanism of the campaign with reference to the decision-making models of Richard C. Snyder, Karl W. Deutsch, and Karl A. Lamb and Paul A. Smith. The campaign decision mechanism was found to most closely approximate that of the incremental model of Lamb and Smith.

Since the strategy of a campaign is the net product of many of the decisions that are made, an analysis is also performed of the strategy employed by the candidate and his organization. Though the campaign strategy was carefully planned and appeared viable, the candidate was unsuccessful in his electoral endeavor. The main reason for the failure is ascribed to the candidate's misinterpretation of the electoral strengths and weaknesses of his eight competitors.

In conclusion the study indicates the necessity for at least two reforms in the electoral politics of New Mexico. For one, New Mexico should eliminate ballot position by lot and should adopt the rotated ballot. In addition, New Mexico should abandon the long ballot in preference to the short ballot. Voters are incapable of rationally discriminating between men and offices at the level of the minor state office, and, consequently, governors should appoint persons to these positions in order to improve the possibility of efficient and responsible state government.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Tommie Phillip Wolf

Second Committee Member

Harry Paul Stumpf

Third Committee Member

Robert Judd Sickels



Document Type