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Not Another Politics Podcast

Sep 9, 2020

We’re heading into the homestretch of the 2020 election and, as October draws near, we want to take a research focused look at the famed “October Surprise.” It’s a political notion that says, if you want to damage a presidential candidate with a political bombshell you’ve discovered, you should wait until just before the election to release the accusations. But why should candidates wait? What do October Surprises reveal about the politics of scandal? And what can voters can infer from them?

A paper by Gabriele Gratton, a professor at The University of New South Wales in Australia, gives counter intuitive insights into when you should drop a bombshell if you want to cause the maximum amount of damage to your political opponent. We discuss how this research could change the way we view “October surprises” and the 2020 election.

Link to paper: