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.
Milazzo, C., & Townsley, J. (2020). Conceived in Harlesden: Candidate-Centred Campaigning in British General Elections. Parliamentary Affairs, 23(1), 127–146. https://doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsy040