Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Local Candidate Effects in Canadian Elections

  • Benjamin Allen Stevens (a1), Md Mujahedul Islam (a2), Roosmarijn de Geus (a2), Jonah Goldberg (a2), John R. McAndrews (a2), Alex Mierke-Zatwarnicki (a3), Peter John Loewen (a2) and Daniel Rubenson (a4)...
Abstract

What impact do local candidates have on elections in single member district plurality electoral systems? We provide new evidence using data from a large election study carried out during the 2015 Canadian federal election. We improve on the measurement of local candidate effects by asking over 20,000 survey respondents to rate the candidates in their constituency directly. We present three estimates. We find that when all voters are considered together, local candidate evaluations are decisive for approximately 4 per cent of voters. Second, these evaluations are decisive for the outcome of 10 per cent of constituency contests. Third, when models are estimated for each constituency, we find significant evaluation effects for 14 per cent of candidates.

Quel est l'impact des candidats locaux sur les élections de district dans les systèmes à scrutin majoritaire? Nous fournissons de nouvelles preuves à l'aide de données tirées d'une vaste étude réalisée lors de l'élection fédérale canadienne de 2015. Nous améliorons la mesure des effets sur les candidats locaux en demandant à plus de 20 000 répondents aux enquêtes d'évaluer directement les candidats dans leur circonscription. Nous présentons trois estimations. Nous constatons que lorsque tous les électeurs sont considérés ensemble, les évaluations des candidats locaux sont décisives pour environ 4% des électeurs. Deuxièmement, ces évaluations sont décisives pour le résultat de 10% des élections. Troisièmement, lorsque les modèles sont estimés circonscription par circonscription, nous constatons des effets significatifs de l'évaluation pour 14% des candidats.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: peter.loewen@utoronto.ca
References
Hide All
Achen, Christopher H. 2002. “Toward a New Political Methodology: Microfoundations and ART.” Annual Review of Political Science 5 (1): 423–50.
Ahler, Douglas J., Citrin, Jack, Dougal, Michael C. and Lenz, Gabriel S.. 2017. “Face Value? Experimental Evidence that Candidate Appearance Influences Electoral Choice.” Political Behavior 39 (1): 77102.
Arzheimer, Kai and Evans, Jocelyn. 2012. “Geolocation and voting: Candidate-voter distance effects on party choice in the 2010 UK general election in England.” Political Geography 31: 301–10.
Arzheimer, Kai and Evans, Jocelyn. 2014. “Candidate geolocation and voter choice in the 2013 English County Council elections.” Research and Politics July-September: 1–9.
Barton, Jared, Castillo, Marco and Petrie, Ragan. 2014. “What Persuades Voters? A Field Experiment on Political Campaigning.” The Economic Journal 124 (574): F293F326.
Blais, André and Daoust, Jean-François. 2017. “What do voters do when they like a local candidate from another party?Canadian Journal of Political Science 50 (4): 1103–09.
Blais, André, Gidengil, Elisabeth, Dobrzynska, Agnieszka, Nevitte, Neil and Nadeau, Richard. 2003. “Does the Local Candidate Matter? Candidate Effects in the Canadian Election of 2000.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 36 (3): 657–64.
Campbell, Rosie and Cowley, Philip. 2014. “What Voters Want: Reactions to Candidate Characteristics in a Survey Experiment.” Political Studies 62 (4): 745–65.
Carty, R. Kenneth. 2002. “The Politics of Tecumseh Corners: Canadian Political Parties as Franchise Organizations.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 35 (4): 723–45.
Carty, R. Kenneth and Young, Lisa. 2012. “The Local Underpinnings of Electoral Competition in Canada, 1979–2008.” Canadian Political Science Review 6 (2–3):227–36.
Clarke, Harold D., Sanders, David, Stewart, Marianne C. and Whiteley, Paul. 2004. Political Choice in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Clarke, Harold D., LeDuc, Lawrence, Jenson, Jane and Pammett, Jon. 1979. Political Choice in Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
Coletto, David, Jansen, Harold J. and Young, Lisa. 2011. “Stratarchical Party Organization and Party Finance in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 44 (1): 111–36.
Cunningham, Robert. 1971. “The Impact of the Local Candidate in Canadian Federal Elections.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 4 (2): 287–90.
Denver, David, Hands, Gordon and MacAllister, Iain. 2004. “The Electoral Impact of Constituency Campaigning in Britain, 1992–2001.” Political Studies 52 (2): 289306.
Dewan, Torun, Humphreys, Macartan and Rubenson, Daniel. 2014. “The Elements of Political Persuasion: Content, Contact and Cue.” The Economic Journal 124 (574): F257–92.
Eagles, Munroe. 1993. “Money and Votes in Canada: Campaign Spending and Parliamentary Election Outcomes, 1984 and 1988.” Canadian Public Policy 19 (4): 432–49.
Eldersveld, Samuel James. 1964. Political parties: A behavioral analysis. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Enos, Ryan D. and Hersh, Eitan D.. 2015. “Party Activists as Campaign Advertisers: The Ground Campaign as a Principal-Agent Problem.” American Political Science Review 109 (2): 252–78.
Evans, Jocelyn, Arzheimer, Kai, Campbell, Rosie and Cowley, Philip. 2017. “Candidate localness and voter choice in the 2015 general elections in England.” Political Geography 59: 6171.
Gerber, Alan S. and Green, Donald P.. 2000. “The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment.” American Political Science Review 94 (3): 653–63.
Gidengil, Elisabeth, Blais, André, Nevitte, Neil and Nadeau, Richard. 2002. “Priming and Campaign Context: Evidence from Recent Canadian Elections.” Working paper.
Heintzman, D. Keith. 1991. “Electoral competition, campaign expenditure and incumbency advantage.” Issues in Party and Election Finance in Canada 5: 97156.
Huckfeldt, R. Robert and Sprague, John. 1995. Citizens, Politics and Social Communication: Information and Influence in an Election Campaign. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Irvine, William P. 1982. “Does the Candidate Make a Difference? The Macro-Politics and Micro-Politics of Getting Elected.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 15 (4): 755–82.
Johnston, Ronald J., Pattie, Charles J., Cutts, David, Fieldhouse, Edward and Fisher, Justin. 2011. “Local Campaign Spending at the 2010 General Election and Its Impact: Exploring What Wider Regulation has Revealed.” The Political Quarterly 82 (2): 169–92.
Johnston, Ronald J. 1987. Money and Votes: Constituency campaign spending and election results. London: Croom Helm.
Johnston, Ronald J., Pattie, Charles J. and Johnston, L.C.. 1989. “The impact of constituency spending on the result of the 1987 British general election.” Electoral Studies 8 (2): 143–55.
Karp, Jeffrey A. and Banducci, Susan A.. 2007. “Party Mobilization and Political Participation in New and Old Democracies.” Party Politics 13 (2): 217–34.
Karp, Jeffrey A., Banducci, Susan A. and Bowler, Shaun. 2008. “Getting Out the Vote: Party Mobilization in a Comparative Perspective.” British Journal of Political Science 38 (1): 91112.
Keeter, Scott. 1987. “The Illusion of Intimacy: Television and the Role of Candidate Personal Qualities in Voter Choice.” Public Opinion Quarterly 51 (3): 344–58.
Krashinsky, Michael and Milne, William J.. 1983. “Some Evidence on the Effect of Incumbency in Ontario Provincial Elections.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 16 (3): 489500.
Krashinsky, Michael and Milne, William J.. 1985. “Additional Evidence on the Effect of Incumbency in Canadian Elections.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 18 (1): 155–65.
Krashinsky, Michael and Milne, William J.. 1986. “The Effect of Incumbency in the 1984 Federal and 1985 Ontario Elections.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 19 (2): 337–43.
Krebs, Timothy B. 2001. “Political Experience and Fundraising in City Council Elections.” Social Science Quarterly 82 (3): 536–51.
Loewen, Peter John, de Miguel, Carolina and Heroux-Legault, Maxime. 2015. “Nationalism and Ethnic Heterogeneity: The Importance of Local Context for Nationalist Party Vote Choice.” Electoral Studies 39:129–41.
Loewen, Peter, Daniel Rubenson, John and Koop, Royce. 2018. “Local Parliament Project 2015 Canadian Election Survey.” Harvard Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/DACHKP
Marsh, Michael. 1987. “Electoral evaluations of candidates in Irish general elections 1948–82.” Irish Political Studies 2 (1): 6576.
Marsh, Michael. 2004. “None of that post-modern stuff around here: Grassroots campaigning in the 2002 Irish General Election.” British Elections & Parties Review 14 (1): 245–67.
Mendelsohn, Matthew. 1993. “Television's Frames in the 1988 Canadian Election.” Canadian Journal of Communication 18 (2): 149–71.
Mendelsohn, Matthew. 1996. “The Media and Interpersonal Communications: The Priming of Issues, Leaders, and Party Identification.” The Journal of Politics 58 (1): 112–25.
Ohr, Dieter. 2011. “Changing Patterns in Political Communication.” In Political Leaders and Democratic Elections, ed. Aarts, Kees, Blais, André and Schmitt, Hermann. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pattie, Charles J. and Johnston, Ronald J.. 2003. “Hanging on the Telephone? Doorstep and Telephone Canvassing at the British General Election of 1997.” British Journal of Political Science 33 (2): 303–22.
Pattie, Charles J., Johnston, Ronald J. and Fieldhouse, Edward A.. 1995. “Winning the Local Vote: The Effectiveness of Constituency Campaign Spending in Great Britain, 1983–1992.” American Political Science Review 89 (4): 969–83.
Roy, Jason and Alcantara, Christopher. 2015. “The Candidate Effect: Does the Local Candidate Matter?Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 25 (2): 195214.
Schoen, Harald and Schumann, Siegfried. 2007. “Personality Traits, Partisan Attitudes and Voting Behavior. Evidence from Germany.” Political Psychology 28 (4): 471–98.
Shugart, Matthew Søberg, Valdini, Melody Ellis and Suominen, Kati. 2005. “Looking for Locals: Voter Information Demands and Personal Vote-Earning Attributes of Legislators under Proportional Representation.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (2): 437–49.
Simpson, Jeffrey. 2002. “This Turncoat MP Should Be Recalled.” The Globe and Mail. January 29, 2002, A17.
Tavits, Margit. 2010. “Effect of Local Ties on Electoral Success and Parliamentary Behaviour: The Case of Estonia.” Party Politics 16 (2): 215–35.
Trimble, Linda and Sampert, Shannon. 2004. “Who's in the Game? The Framing of Election 2000 by The Globe and Mail and The National Post.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37 (1): 5171.
Whiteley, Paul F. and Seyd, Patrick. 2003. “How to win a landslide by really trying: The effects of local campaigning on voting in the 1997 British general election.” Electoral Studies 22 (2): 301–24.
Wielhouwer, Peter W. and Lockerbie, Brad. 1994. “Party Contacting and Political Participation, 1952–90.” American Journal of Political Science 38 (1): 211–29.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Allen Stevens et al. supplementary material
Appendices A-B

 Word (130 KB)
130 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed