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 regard. 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
In 2012 the project concentrated on the preparation of a second round of candidate surveys in the framework of the Comparative Candidate Survey. Supported by the Fritz Thyssen foundation, a second plenary conference of (nearly) all researchers involved was convened at the MZES in January. After a number of papers were presented and discussed, a governing structure was agreed and working groups formed (e.g. on a new micro-questionnaire). During the year, a number of important data sets were made available within the project (e.g. from Sweden and Austria), and additional surveys were conducted (e.g. in the Netherlands).