Political parties often appeal to groups. Yet, existing work does not consider how such group-based appeals are used, presumably because they are thought to have grown ineffective. Contrary to this, I argue that group-based appeals are central to party electoral strategy, and that time has only strengthened the incentive to use them. Using original data on 10,000 group-based appeals found in sentence-by-sentence coding of British election manifestos, I demonstrate an increasing use of group-based appeals from 1964 to 2015. Furthermore, I show that the range of groups emphasized, the concentration of group emphasis, and the specific group categories targeted also follow the electoral incentives prevalent over this 50-year period. These findings shed new light on how political parties appeal for votes and suggest that we view group-based appeals as a distinctive feature of party electoral strategy. I discuss the implications for our broader understanding of electoral competition.
Mads Thau, SFI
|Publiceret i||Political Studies|