Social Group Appeals: Prevalence, Functions, and Consequences

Research question/goal: 

The project provides a new perspective on political communication and party competition by focussing on an important aspect that has been relatively neglected in the previous literature: parties’ appeals to social groups. The first goal of the project is to collect new comparative data on the prevalence of group appeals and describe and explain the variation of appeals to distinct group categories across time, over different countries, and for various party types. The second goal of the project is to develop and test potential explanations of how parties use specific types of appeals to associate themselves with specific social groups, to influence how the public perceives their policy proposals, and to discredit other rival parties. The third and final goal of the proposed project is to investigate the effect and consequences of group appeals on voters’ perception of representation, their electoral choices, and their opinions about policies.

The project will examine party manifestos from 1970 to 2020 in ten European countries. This novel dataset will be merged with existing information on parties’ issue salience and policy positions and on voters’ policy preferences and group attitudes. Additionally, voters’ reactions to group appeals will be investigated using survey experiments.

Fact sheet

2023 to 2026
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Party manifestos, survey data, survey experiments
Geographic Space: 
Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom