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Alistair Clark, "Party organization and concurrent multi-level local campaigning The 2007 Scottish elections under MMP and STV," Party Politics 18 (July, 2012), 603-622, [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Parties often have to campaign for two or more levels of office at the same time. For instance, American Presidential elections are combined with contests for both Houses of Congress, while British general elections have regularly been combined with elections for local government. While much is known about how the efforts of party organizations on the ground impact upon electoral outcomes (Denver et al., 2004; Pattie and Johnston, 2003; Whiteley and Seyd, 2003), very little is known about how local organizations deal with campaigning for different levels of office at the same time, not least when new and different electoral systems are used. This is important because the concurrent use of different electoral systems can give very different incentives to party organizations in their attempts to communicate with voters.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Mean number of election workers by party.
Table 1. Index of constituency party campaign effort, 2007
Figure 2. Index of campaign effort and constituency marginality 2007.
Table 2. Mean proportion of campaign time spent on campaigning for regional list candidates by region and party
Table 3. Ward-level data held by local parties, percentages.
Table 4. Vote management and campaign literature: A Labour Party example
Table 5. Did introduction of STV complicate party campaigns?

Last Paragraph:
(first pararaph of conclusions) What do these findings suggest about parties? Four points can be tentatively forwarded. First, while there is some evidence of vote maximization activity by party organizations under the different electoral systems, particularly under SMP, this is ultimately mediated by previous success and party organization. With STV, some local organizations made considerable efforts to adapt to the new system, primarily in areas of previous electoral success and strong organization. Others appear to have made limited efforts, often only standing one candidate, due to limited organization, insufficient data on voters or lack of previous success in the area, even where they might have benefited from having another candidate to mop up transfers. Considerable efforts did not extend to the regional list Table 5. Did introduction of STV complicate party campaigns? element of MMP; local party efforts at this level appeared largely tokenistic. This confirms the finding that local activity is lower under PR rules (Karp et al., 2008) but extends it to an MMP setting. This highlights a second point: that party organizations have apparently not, even after three elections using MMP, wholly learned how to attempt to maximize their advantage under both elements of the MMP system. When combined with the STV evidence, this suggests that local organizations are unlikely to immediately be strategic vote maximizing actors under new electoral systems. Instead, they go through a lengthy period of learning how to adapt to new electoral systems.

Last updated August 2012