Transformations in second-order campaigning: A German-Finnish comparison of campaign professionalism in the 2004 and 2009 European parliamentary elections
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In this article, we address the problem of measuring professionalism of political cam- paigns in European parliamentary elections. We use a comparative research design with party-level campaign data from two fairly similar EU member states, Germany and Finland, and two elections, 2004 and 2009. Th eoretically, our analysis is based on the so-called party-centred theory of profes- sionalism, which puts an emphasis on party characteristics in explaining the variance of campaign professionalism. We hypothesize that besides observing increasing party-level campaign professional- ism in time and higher levels of professional campaigning in Germany, professionalism is positively associated with a party’s size, its right-wing orientation and recent change of leadership. We found support for the time-eff ect and party size, whereas evidence in country comparison, ideological orien- tation and change of leadership was inconclusive, suggesting signifi cant diff erences among countries and elections. It also seems that the political left harbours the most professional parties. Th is calls for a re-evaluation of the party-centred theory of campaign professionalism.
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