Annemarie S Walter,
"Choosing the enemy: Attack behaviour in a multiparty
system," Party Politics, 20 (May 2014), 311-323.
[Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue3/
Over the years, much scholarly attention has been devoted to
examining the circumstances under which candidates or
parties are most likely to turn to negative campaign tactics
(e.g. Damore, 2002; Hale et al., 1996; Kahn and Kenney,
2004; Lau and Pomper, 2004; Sigelman and Buell Jr., 2003).
The question whether opposing parties or candidates are the
most common targets of negative campaigning has received
less attention in the literature. This is unfortunate, as
the choice of target is just as important as the decision to
attack when attempting to understand negative campaigning.
Gaining a thorough understanding of negative campaigning is
of importance not only for campaign scholars, but for all
those interested in party competition. In the party
competition literature we have on the one hand the saliency
and valence approach (Budge and Farlie, 1983) and, on the
other, the confrontational approach (Laver and Hunt, 1992).
Recent research suggests that the saliency and valence
approach holds for positive campaigning, but for negative
campaigning the confrontational approach prevails (see
Damore, 2002; Elmelund-Præstæker, 2011). The
question of party competition and issue ownership is beyond
the range of this article, but this study on the choice of
target when going negative reveals much about the underlying
mechanisms of party competition
- Figures and
- Table 1. Logit Predictors of Party Attacked.
- Table 2. Percentage Points Changes in Predicted
Probabilities Main Effects.
- Figure 1. Predicted Probabilities Interaction Effect
Government Status * Ideological Distance.
- Figure 2. Predicted Probabilities Interaction Effect
Party Size * Ideological Distance.
(first paragraph of conclusion) This study has advanced the
current knowledge about which parties are the most likely
targets of attack in a multiparty system. First, the article
contributes to the existing research in that it is one of
the few studies (e.g. Haynes and Rhine, 1998; Ridout and
Holland, 2010; Skaperdas and Grofman, 1995) on the choice of
target when going negative that employs a statistical model
for testing alternative hypotheses and is the first such
study for a multiparty system. Second, it adds to the
general theory of negative campaigning in examining the
choice of target in a multiparty system, as current theory
is primarily based on attack behaviour in the US two-party
system. The Netherlands, known for its multiparty system and
large number of political parties, is the ideal test case
for examining whether similar factors are at play in a
multiparty system as in a twoparty system, i.e. the US, when
it comes to which parties are the most likely targets of
negative campaigning. This article has shown that the
factors competitive standing and ideological proximity
stemming from the US context also explain the most likely
targets of negative campaigning in theDutchmultiparty
system. Furthermore, this study has advanced our
understanding by proving the value of the factors government
status and coalition potential (derived from non-US work)
for explaining the attacker's choice of target.