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Political leaflets in the Eastleigh 2013 by election
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Political leaflets in the Eastleigh 2013 by election

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This conference paper provides an account of the number, form and cost (activist time and financial) of door to door political leafleting and direct mail marketing in the February 2013 Eastleigh ...

This conference paper provides an account of the number, form and cost (activist time and financial) of door to door political leafleting and direct mail marketing in the February 2013 Eastleigh by-election.

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    Political leaflets in the Eastleigh 2013 by election Political leaflets in the Eastleigh 2013 by election Presentation Transcript

    • The number, form and genre of direct mail marketing and door to door political leafleting in the February 2013 Eastleigh by-election. Marcus Leaning University of Winchester
    • Eastleigh • Located in Hampshire. • Electorate of 78,313 (Boundary commission 2011). • More densely populated than the rest of south east England. • Historic transport industry (railways, airport, shipbuilding) • Currently retail employs 33% of workforce, leisure also big.
    • Politics • Constituency created in 1955. • Held by Conservatives until 1994. • David Chidgey won the in 1994 by- election following the death of Stephen Milligan. • Chris Huhne held the seat in 2005. • But was arrested and (eventually) pleaded guilty for ‘perverting the course of justice’ after getting his then wife to accept speeding points in 2003. • Mike Thornton (Lib Dem) held the seat on the 28th Feb 2013.
    • Electoral Campaigning • The Lib Dem victory was attributed to a ‘strong ground game’ – the mobilisation of lots of political activists to engage voters. • This paper looks at one aspect of the campaign, the door to door leafleting. • An important but (recently) less studied electoral campaigning technique.
    • The impact of the local activist on electoral campaign performance • Norris (2002) sees three periods in campaigning: Pre-modern, modern and post modern. • Premodern were activist based, during the modern period the Nuffield Studies reported the futility of local activism in campaigns as elections are won or lost on national issues (Cutts, 2006a). • Postmodern electioneering – that occurring post 1993 (Norris, 2000) is about ‘strategic targeting’. • This has resulted in a revitalisation of local activism (Cutts, 2006b) underpinned by central party support that bolster constituency parties (Fisher and Denver, 2008). • This requires lots of activists (Pattie and Johnston, 2009) and can overcome limited spending (Fisher, 2011). • Door to door leafleting is a good barometer of local activism. • However the leaflets are not homogeneous and actually offer further insight into local activism.
    • Method • Consideration of all deliveries to one address over the campaign period. • This was from the day of Huhne’s guilty plea (4th Feb), though the official declaration of candidates and official start of campaign (13th Feb) to the election day (28th Feb). • In total 61 printed party political electoral communications were delivered from 11 of the 14 standing parties. • Look at: – Number and frequency; – Type; – Discursive strategies
    • Number of door to door delivery by party 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1 Liberal Democrat UKIP Labour Conservative Independent English Democrats National Health Action Christian Peace TUSC Wessex Regionalist PARTY No. of communications Votes Liberal Democrat 24 13,342 UKIP 13 11,571 Labour 7 4,088 Conservative 6 10,559 Independent 3 768 English Democrats 3 70 National Health Action 2 392 Christian 1 163 Peace 1 128 TUSC 1 62 Wessex Regionalist 1 30 Beer, Baccy and Crumpet 0 235 Monster Raving Loony 0 136 Elvis Loves Pets 0 72
    • Number of leaflets delivered by day 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    • Types of communication • Can be considered by: – Financial cost to produce and deliver. – Labour to produce and deliver. – Mode of communication. • 4 basic types of communication: – Leaflet – Impersonal letter – Personal letter / communication – Pseudo magazine/newspaper
    • Leaflets • Long heritage. • The ‘base’ door to door political communication. • Relatively cheap to produce but intensive to deliver – by activist. • Tone is often ‘proclamatory’.
    • Impersonal letters • In many ways similar to a leaflet – tend to be more issue focussed. • Again relatively cheap to produce but intensive to deliver – by activists. • Tone is ‘discursive’ or ‘conversational’.
    • Personal letter / communication • Addressed to an individual. • Explicit targeting. • Variable costs to produce. • Expensive / intensive to deliver- either • by Royal Mail - candidates get one free delivery. • Or on occasion by hand by activist.
    • Pseudo magazine/newspaper • Mimicry or remediation of local newspaper or magazine. • Visually distinct. • Occasionally politically ‘camouflaged’. • Expensive to produce. • Intensive to deliver.
    • Type of communication by party Party Leaflets Activist delivered Impersonal letter Activist delivered Personal letter Paid delivery Pseudo newspaper magazine Total Activist delivered Total Paid for delivery Total Liberal Democrat 15 6 (1 hand delivered) 3 19 5 24 UKIP 9 2 2 11 2 13 Labour 4 3 4 3 7 Conservative 1 2 3 4 2 6 Independent 3 3 3 English Democrats 3 3 3 National Health Action 2 2 2 Christian 1 1 1 Peace 1 1 1 TUSC 1 1 1 Wessex Regionalist 1 1 1
    • Hmmm… • Lib dems – lots of activism and lots spent. • Ukip – lots of activism but not so much money. • Labour – a bit of activism and a bit of money spent. • Conservative – similar amount of activism but lots of money spent.
    • References • Cutts, D. (2006a) Continuous campaigning and electoral outcomes: The Liberal Democrats in Bath. Political Geography, 25(1), 72-88. • Cutts, D. (2006b) “Where We Work We Win”: A Case Study of Local Liberal Democrat Campaigning. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, 16(3), 221- 242. • Fisher, J., Cutts, D. J. and Fieldhouse, E. (2011) ‘Constituency Campaigning in 2010’, in D. Wring , R. Mortimore and S. Atkinson (eds), Political Communication in Britain: The Leader Debates, the Campaign and the Media in the 2010 General Election. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 198–217. • Fisher, J. and Denver, D. (2008) From Foot-Slogging to Call Centres and Direct Mail: A Framework for Analyzing the Development of District-Level Campaigning, European Journal of Political Research, 47 (6), 794–826. • Norris, P. (2000) A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Pattie, C., & Johnston, R. (2009) Still Talking, But Is Anyone Listening?: The Changing Face of Constituency Campaigning in Britain, 1997—2005. Party Politics, 15(4), 411-434.