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Conceived in Harlesden: Candidate-Centred Campaigning in British General Elections

Milazzo, Caitlin; Townsley, Joshua


Caitlin Milazzo

Joshua Townsley


Recent decades have seen an increasing trend towards the personalisation of election campaigns, even in systems where candidates have few structural incentives to emphasise their personal appeal. In this paper, we build on a growing literature that points to the importance of candidate characteristics in determining electoral success. Using a dataset comprised of more than 3,700 leaflets distributed during the 2015 and 2017 general elections, we explore the conditions under which messages emphasising the personal characteristics of prospective parliamentary candidates appear in British general election campaign materials. Even when we account for party affiliation, we find that there are important contextual and individual-level factors that predict the use of candidate-centred messaging.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2020-01
Journal Parliamentary Affairs
Print ISSN 0031-2290
Electronic ISSN 1460-2482
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 127–146
APA6 Citation Milazzo, C., & Townsley, J. (2020). Conceived in Harlesden: Candidate-Centred Campaigning in British General Elections. Parliamentary Affairs, 23(1), 127–146.
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Parliamentary Affairs following peer review. The version of record is available online at: