Personal Campaign Strategies and Political Representation
The crisis of political parties stresses individual representatives as alternative linkages between citizens and the state. This project studies the election campaigns of individual candidates regarding a number of problems that become relevant in this respect. It puts a special emphasis on campaign styles and on the following research questions: How can we systematically describe individualized election campaigns? How do they differ from party driven campaigns? To what degree are we able to observe individualized campaigns in European elections? Which factors foster, which ones hinder the diffusion of individualized election campaigns? Based on a newly developed core questionnaire we coordinate surveys of individual candidates standing for office in national parliamentary elections across Europe and across different incentive structures that might matter to their campaigns.
The international project team has been pursuing a number of tasks in the past year. One was the promotion of the second wave of surveys in the framework of the Comparative Candidate Surveys; this includes mainly the recruitment of new country studies. A second task concerns the identification and integration of existing surveys from the first wave in the integrated data base which is taken care of by the Swiss Data Archive FORS (and supported by the MZES). Third and finally, de Winter, Lutz, and Schmitt have been developing a proposal for an edited volume based on the first wave data. The response of the research group is promising and the editors are confident to come to a satisfactory end product in 2015.