In recent decades, political actors of all sorts - parties and candidates, governments and other political institutions, interest groups, social movements - have increasingly come to view political campaigning as an essential supplement to their engagement in the process of policy-making. By investing ever more efforts and resources into political campaigns, they seek to mobilise support among the mass public, to persuade citizens of their causes, and to inform the citizenry about public policies and political procedures. So far as the practitioners are concerned, such campaigns matter a great deal. Each year, billions of dollars are spent on political campaigns. The sophisticated services of specialist agencies and campaign consultants are engaged; candidates are sent on television training courses; glossy literature, advertisements and campaign gimmicks are produced. While parties, candidates, interest groups, governments, media and - perhaps - voters all seem to be strongly convinced of the notion that campaigns do indeed matter, the collective views of the academic community can perhaps best be summarised as undecided.
This book, in bringing together some of the leading international scholars on electoral behaviour and communication studies, provides the first ever stock-take of the state of this sub-discipline. The individual chapters present the most recent studies on campaign effects in North America, Europe and Australasia. As a whole, the book provides a cross-national assessment of the theme of political campaigns and their consequences.
David M. Farrell is a Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics at the University of Manchester, UK. A co-editor of Party Politics, his research focuses on campaigns, electoral systems and representation in the European Parliament. He is also the author of Electoral Systems: A Comparative Introduction. Rudiger Schmitt-Beck is Scientific Director at the Center for Survey Research and Methodology (ZUMA), Mannheim, Germany. His research interests are in the areas of comparative political behaviour, public opinion, political communication, electoral behaviour, political culture, social movements and political participation. He is also the author of Politische Kommunikation und Wahlerverhalten.