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'The personal touch': Campaign personalisation in Britain

Townsley, Joshua; Trumm, Siim; Milazzo, Caitlin

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Joshua Townsley

Associate Professor


Parliamentary candidates face choices about the extent to which they personalise their election campaigns. They must strike a balance between promoting their party's message and their own personal appeal, and they must decide how much effort to invest in developing personalised campaign activities. These decisions determine the nature of the campaigns that candidates run, and therefore, voters' experience during elections. In this article, we use individual-level survey data from the British Representation Study to explore the extent to which candidates per-sonalise their election campaigns in terms of messaging focus and activities. We find that candidates who live in the area they seek to represent, and those who are more positive about their electoral chances, run more personalised campaigns, in terms of focus and activities. Incum-bents' campaigns, meanwhile, are more personalised in their focus only, while candidates who have held national party office tend to use a greater range of personalised campaign activities.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 29, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 9, 2021
Publication Date 2022-11
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 10, 2023
Journal British Journal of Politics and International Relations
Print ISSN 1369-1481
Electronic ISSN 1467-856X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 4
Pages 702–722
Keywords campaign behaviour; personalisation; political communication; Britain
Public URL
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Additional Information Copyright © The Author(s) 2021


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