Hanging on the telephone? Doorstep and telephone canvassing at the British general election of 1997

  • Pattie C
  • Johnston R
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Abstract

After years of neglect, a growing literature has reclaimed the constituency campaign as an important aspect of British elections. However, relatively little work has been done to disentangle which aspects of the local campaign are effective, and which are not. For much of the twentieth century, the mechanics of the local campaign were in essentials unchanged. But changing campaign technologies in the last decade offer new possibilities to party campaign managers. The 1997 British general election was the first in which parties made extensive use of telephone canvassing as well as the more traditional doorstep canvass. This article provides a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of traditional versus telephone constituency campaigns. Traditional face-to-face canvassing had a statistically significant influence on the outcome of the 1997 general election. But the telephone canvass did not.

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Authors

  • C. J. Pattie

  • R. J. Johnston

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