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Voters and Voting in ContextMultiple Contexts and the Heterogeneous German Electorate$
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Harald Schoen, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels, and Christof Wolf

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792130.001.0001

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Electoral Competition, Candidates’ Campaign Styles, and the Personalization of the Vote

Electoral Competition, Candidates’ Campaign Styles, and the Personalization of the Vote

(p.90) 5 Electoral Competition, Candidates’ Campaign Styles, and the Personalization of the Vote
Voters and Voting in Context

Bernhard Weßels

Oxford University Press

This chapter contributes to the debate about the (increasing) personalization of electoral campaigning. It investigates the orientation of the campaign focus and the degree of personalization of campaign activities in Germany’s federal elections of 2013 based on the candidate survey of the German Longitudinal Election Study. Theory on the incentives to cultivate a personal vote suggests it is the context of competition that matters. Two dimensions of competition are relevant: electoral competition and competition in the nomination. Results show that contrary to expectation electoral safety and not electoral pressure is connected to personalized campaigning. Strong electoral competition actually prevents personalization, whereas competitive pressure in the nomination process is strongly connected with a personalized campaign strategy. Why the competitive context in the nomination contributes to personalization and why there is a spillover into campaigning is a desideratum of research and theory that has to be investigated and explained.

Keywords:   personalization, personalized campaigning, competition, nomination, context of competition

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