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Annemarie S Walter, "Choosing the enemy: Attack behaviour in a multiparty system," Party Politics, 20 (May 2014), 311-323. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
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 Tables:
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.

Last Paragraph:
(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.

Last updated April 2014