Campaigns and Political Marketing

Campaigns and Political Marketing

Campaigns and Political Marketing

Campaigns and Political Marketing

Synopsis

Discusses the political science research studies and theories that political activists and professionals can apply to effectively campaign for an issue or candidate. This text, a compilation of research, theory, and practical application, guides readers through the complexities of everyday political marketing and campaigning.

Excerpt

In the last 20 years political scientists have increasingly turned their attention toward the systematic study of campaigns and political marketing. Much of this research is directed at how and to what extent campaigns contribute to the explanation of vote choice and election outcomes. The research is increasingly branching into virtually all aspects of campaign activity as campaigns become something to be explained, rather than existing as an undifferentiated, underspecified independent variable. The articles in this volume illustrate how much can be learned through the systematic study of electoral politics. The articles also display the relevance of academic research to political professionals. Much of the literature on vote choice and elections is so abstracted that practitioners find it to be of limited value in their work. The essays show an appreciation for how campaign professionals ply their trade and what that means for how campaigns play out. Campaign professionals exist “between those who seek power and those who bestow authority” (Kelley 1956, 3). Each article seeks, in its own way, to “pull back the curtain” behind which these professionals operate to expose the power and the limitations of their efforts. At the same time, academics will find value as the authors bring their talents and rigorous social science methodologies to the study of behavior in political campaigns and elections. Traditional political science scholarship on elections focuses on the “outputs” of campaigns. As a result we know relatively less about the process of campaigning such as marketing or the value of these activities in the electoral context. Indeed, established literatures in political science maintain that campaigns have little or no effect on electoral outcomes. Beginning with Lazarfeld, Berelson and Gaudet (1944), most research on American elections focuses on outcomes (measured at the individual level in the form of vote choice or at the aggregate level in the form of vote shares won by competing candidates or parties). Most research in this tradition portrays voters as casting ballots on the basis of their exogenous predispositions–especially . . .
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