Carpet BombingA phrase used to describe the flood of television ads that run in key swing states during the weeks leading up to Election Day. In pivotal states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, the local TV stations usually run significantly more political ads in the final days before the election.
CoattailsA candidate is said to have “long coattails” if his election increases the number of votes for other members of his party who are running for office during the same election year.
Contrast AdsA euphemism for negative “attack” ads. (Not surprisingly, this polite term is used mostly by the political operatives and candidates who produce the ads.) In an effort to discourage such commercials, the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 included a “stand by your ad” provision, which requires candidates to state the now familiar “I’m (name), and I approve this message” in all their commercials.
Convention BounceThis refers to a spike in the polls for a candidate immediately following the end of the nominating convention. The candidate with the bigger post-convention bounce usually becomes the front-runner once the conventions are over, though that doesn’t guarantee an election victory.
Electoral CollegeThe voting system that elects the president of the United States. (For more, see all about the electoral college.)