Presentation on theme: "Election campaigns Campaign functions Campaign finances Campaigning in the mass media Micro-campaigning Media coverage Campaign effects."— Presentation transcript:
Election campaigns Campaign functions Campaign finances Campaigning in the mass media Micro-campaigning Media coverage Campaign effects
Normative campaign functions Political campaigns Elections Referendums Role of campaigns Information Citizen involvement Enabling informed choice Competition Ensuring political pluralism Avoiding structural bias Democracy Watch (International) defines fair democratic elections as, "Elections in which great care is taken to prevent any explicit or hidden structural bias towards any one candidate, aside from those beneficial biases that naturally result from an electorate that is equally well informed about the various assets and liabilities of each candidate"
Scheduling Set election dates E.g. US, Germany, France etc. Argued to ensure fairness, predictability Danger of lengthening campaigns Maximum term E.g. UK, Ireland Government (prime minister, taoiseach) holds power to dissolve parliament and call elections Results in shorter (official) campaigns Creates strategic advantage for incumbents Since campaign date is widely anticipated, campaigns from government and opposition tend to start ahead of dissolution
Campaign finances Political parties appear to be essential for functioning of democracies Mediate and arbitrate between civil society and government institutions Providing representation and consideration of group interests Parties aggregate a plurality of interests into a reasonable number of political alternatives or policy options, and thus channel conflicts between government and opposition (IDEA 2003 report on Funding of Parties and Election Campaigns) Formulation of policies, alternatives Political mobilization Recruiting political personnel for public office German basic law even contains an article defining the constitutional role of political parties Article 21 [Political parties] (1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organization must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.
Public funding Britain exceptional in its general refusal to publicly fund parties (apart from Policy Development Fund distributing £2 million between registered parties) Arguments against public subsidies Possibly undermining independence of parties (cartellisation?) Preventing change (e.g. entry into political market) Unpopular with ordinary citizens Goals of public funding Promoting equality of access to resources If parties are fulfilling (implicitly or explictly) constitutional functions in terms of mobilization, linking civil society and state, recruitment, policy-making, they should be given the resources to do so
Private funding Membership fees Donations Defines fundraising as a key objective of campaigning Possibly translating inequalities in wealth and/or organization into inequality of access to decision-makers Traditional core contributors to UK political parties Members Trade unions Business corporations Sweden and US at opposite ends of continuum between virtually no control over use of funds (Sweden, largely publicly funded) and close monitoring and setting of spending limits (US) Presidential candidates in US receiving full public funding Outruling any private fundraising (but only after nomination)
Campaigning in the mass media Manifesto Purposes Adressing the media/Launching the campaign Adressing the public Positioning the party Communicating policy proposals Setting the agenda Adressing potential political allies Baseline for post-election bargaining in government formation process Press conferences and press releases Aiming to set the agenda for the day Media management Campaign stunts Photo ops Negative campaigning
Strategy and micro-campaigning Private polls Focus groups Testing effectiveness of campaign messages/images Database marketing Voter targeting Direct campaigning (mail, phone) Canvassing Customization of campaign messages
Media coverage Types of campaign stories Horserace Campaign activities Issue features Editorial opinion Types of campaign coverage Providing a platform (stop-watch, sacerdotal) Critical, non-partisan scrutiny Partisan media Institutional bias
Campaign effects Conditional effects Increasing with volatility from decreasing party ID, class voting etc. Depending on intensity, closeness of competition (battleground states in US, marginal seats in UK) Those most likely to be affected least likely to be attentive Agenda-setting and priming Issue voting and salience Resources Indeterminate findings about whether advantage in resources translates into vote gains (potentially spurious: incumbents have more funds!) Some findings from US suggesting that employment of campaign experts (pollsters, advisers, strategists) does produce competitive advantages Temporary effects convention bounce Debate effects Public opinion moves during election campaign; unclear how much of movement is durable response to campaign dynamics, how much error term Bringing public opinion into equilibrium (Holbrook, Do Campaigns Matter, 1996)