Professionalisation of political campaigning
Rachel Gibson
Posted 12/6/2008 10:41 (#47)
Subject: Professionalisation of political campaigning


Member

Posts: 5

I am currently working with a network of European scholars (based in Germany, Hungary and Sweden) to examine the changing nature of political campaigning and particularly its professionalization. Our focus is on measuring the use of the new tools and techniques associated with this shift in the first instance, but also on the likely consequences of this new form of voter outreach. We have published and have forthcoming a number of studies on this topic (Gibson and Rommele, 2001; 2008) Strombeck (2008) and are keen to expand the comparative focus of the data gathering. So far we have derived questions that could be asked of candidates in their use of the new tools and also of voters. The key question that seems to arise in the literature is whether new styles of more’hi-tech’ modes of campaigning are alienating voters by depersonalising contact and narrowing parties’ grassroots, by reducing their need for campaign workers. The questions we have developed are designed to test these ideas – although they are currently in draft form. We would like to submit them to the Piredeu project to see if there is any scope and interest for including them in the upcoming 09 voter and candidate studies.

Below I list the questions we are developing for voters. These cover type of contact by campaigns, and voter response.

1. Have you ever been contacted by a candidate or party organisation during an election campaign in any of the following ways?

Email
Social networking contact (i.e. MySpace/Facebook)
Telephone
Direct mail/flyer through the post
Face to face (calling at your home)
Face to face (in the street)

1a. If yes, what was the nature/purpose of the contact? If multiple contacts have been made, please give details for your most recent contact.

To invite me to take part in an opinion poll/survey
To invite me to take part in a focus group
To encourage me to turnout to vote
To increase my awareness of a specific candidate/party
To ask me if I would support the candidate/party with my vote
To ask me if I would donate time/money to help support the candidate/party?

1b. Thinking again about that recent contact, can you remember whether the contact was by a particular party or a commercial organization?

List - Labour, Cons etc.
Professional survey organisation/company
NGO/pressure group
National/local Government agency - Electoral commission Other/independent

1d Overall, do you consider the contact made you:

More inclined to vote in the election
Less inclined to vote in the election
It made no difference to how I behaved in the election

1e If you were invited to participate a focus group or voter study of some kind what was your response?
I participated
I chose not to participate
I did not have time to listen fully to the request or respond at that time.

1f And if you were contacted by a party/candidate or a professional company/NGO to generate awareness/support for a particular party/candidate what was your response?
I felt more inclined to support the party/candidate that contacted me.
Overall I felt less inclined to support the party/candidate that contacted me.
It made no difference to how I thought about or acted in regard to the candidate/party
I chose not to participate in the election
I did not have time to listen fully to the request or respond at that time.

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SaraHobolt
Posted 16/7/2008 17:11 (#106 - in reply to #47)
Subject: RE: Professionalisation of political campaigning




Posts: 26
25
Location: University of Oxford, UK
Dear Professor Gibson,

Thank you for submitting this proposal to the Open Forum. The PIREDEU Steering Committee met at the end of June to evaluate each of the proposals. We assessed them on the basis of whether they met the following criteria:

* An explicit argument about why the proposed question/coding category merited inclusion in one or more of the PIREDEU data components.

* An explicit argument about the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the question/coding category.

* An explicit case for how the question/coding category facilitates integration and linking of several data components. The PIREDEU Steering Committee preferred proposals that allowed for conceptual integration across the five data components (i.e. voter survey, candidate survey, media study, manifestos and contextual data).

* An explicit consideration of how the proposed question/coding category linked with questions/coding categories in past data collection efforts.

The PIREDEU Steering Committee favoured proposals that ensured over time and across instrument comparability. Moreover, given that the voter and candidate surveys can only contain a limited number of question items, priority was given to proposals with succinct question formats.

On this basis we ranked each question in the proposal as follows:

(1) The proposed item will be included in data collection instrument
(2) High priority proposal that will be included if space and time constraints permit
(3) Proposal can only be included if additional funding is secured
(4) Proposed item is not a priority

The item(s) from your proposal received the following ranking(s):

Instrument: Voter Survey

1. Have you ever been contacted by a candidate or party organisation during an election campaign in any of the following ways?
Ranking: 1
Rationale: This question will be included in the voter survey.

1a. If yes, what was the nature/purpose of the contact? If multiple contacts have been made, please give details for your most recent contact.
1b. Thinking again about that recent contact, can you remember whether the contact was by a particular party or a commercial organization?
1d Overall, do you consider the contact made you:
1e If you were invited to participate a focus group or voter study of some kind what was your response?
1f And if you were contacted by a party/candidate or a professional company/NGO to generate awareness/support for a particular party/candidate what was your response?
Ranking: 4

Rationale: These items were not included because they would take up too much space on the questionnaire. However, the type of contact [telephone, at home, etc.] will be included.

Thank you again for your participation in this process. We hope that you will continue to use the Open Forum to comment on the questionnaires/codebook that will be posted online on the Forum in the autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Franklin
Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

Sara Hobolt
Deputy Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee


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