Thomas Zittel, Thomas Gschwend
Individualised Constituency Campaigns in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: Candidates in the 2005 German Elections

West European Politics, 2008: 31, Heft 5, S. 879-1003
ISSN: 0140-2382

Constituency campaigns are important phenomena for students of political parties, voting behaviour as well as political communication. These research communities perceive constituency campaigns as parts of centralised high-tech campaigns aiming in strategic ways at the efficient mobilisation of voters. We propose in this paper an alternative understanding of constituency campaigns using the case of the German parliamentary elections in 2005 to empirically test this understanding. We perceive constituency campaigns as phenomena signalling a relative independence of individual candidates from the national party campaign. We label this phenomenon individualised campaigning. We argue that individualised campaigning is driven among others by electoral incentives. We test this hypothesis with regard to the German mixed-member electoral system and on the basis of a survey of all candidates standing for election in 2005.