Heiko Giebler, Bernhard Weßels, Andreas M. Wüst
Does Personal Campaigning Make a Difference?

Pp. 140-164 in: Bernhard Weßels, Hans Rattinger, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.): Voters on the Move or on the Run?. 2014. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Local campaigning of candidates during federal elections has become an increasingly important topic in electoral research—not just in majoritarian electoral systems. This chapter delivers a detailed analysis of the effects of such campaigns in the context of the mixed electoral system applied in the 2009 Bundestag election in Germany. Based on three analytical steps—explaining constituency results, validating citizens’ awareness of candidates’ campaign efforts, and incorporating the evaluations of candidates’ efforts by citizens into an individual level vote choice model—we can show that local campaigns indeed matter. Nevertheless, our analysis shows that party-related factors also play an important role and that candidates’ have to choose their campaigns strategies wisely depending on the context and on those voters they want or have to address. Personalized local campaigning does not come without costs and has to be used strategically to increase to probability of electoral success.