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Intra-Party Competition and the Need to Cultivate a Personal Vote

Fri, September 1, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Westin St. Francis, Elizabethan B


Despite the growing number of studies on the personal vote in proportional electoral systems using open lists (OLPR), the level of knowledge about the mechanisms that influence the electoral success of candidates under these systems is relatively scant. Two general claims have been put forward in the literature; that candidates in systems which pit co-partisans against each other use personal vote-earning attributes (PVEA), such as local birthplace and lower-level electoral experience to cultivate a personal in order to distinguish themselves from their co-partisans, and that the incentive to cultivate a personal vote increase with the level of intra-party competition. This study contributes to this literature in two distinct ways. First it aims at providing a richer understanding of the success value of a wider range PVEAs than is commonly applied. Second it provides an empirical test of the crowdedness-claim, i.e. that the need for candidates to display PVEAs increase with the level of intra-party competition (Carey & Shugart 1995; Shugart et al. 2005; Crisp et al. 2007). The analyses are performed on a dataset with 6,567 candidates competing for a parliamentary seat in five consecutive Finnish elections during the period 1999–2015.