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ECPR Summer School in Methods & Techniques 2020

Political Experience, Ways of Campaigning and Electoral Success

Åsa von Schoultz
University of Helsinki
Hilde Coffe
University of Bath
Åsa von Schoultz
University of Helsinki

Candidates’ political campaigns play a major role in political life. They influence electoral support for candidates, and thus have a major impact on their electoral success. This holds particularly in open list proportional electoral systems such as Finland where mandatory preferential voting exists. As candidates have myriad ways to campaign, it is then important to study and understand which ways of campaigning candidates prefer and how that affects their electoral success. Using the 2011 Finnish Comparative Candidates Survey (CCS) – supplemented with district-level data – we therefore study the link between political experience, ways of campaigning, such as interviews in media, public debates, visiting local events, appointments with companies, and electoral success. Preliminary results of multivariate regression analyses indicate that experienced candidates do campaign differently than new candidates. In particular experienced candidates being more likely to engage with the media and in public debates while new candidates tend to slightly focus on Public Relations-activities such as personal campaign posters, ads, flyers and websites. Yet, while presence in media and public debates positively affect the likelihood to be elected, PR activities do not affect the likelihood to be elected.
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