While the negative campaigning literature has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years, the precise targets of campaign negativity have not been fully explored, as candidates and their parties are largely treated as the same target. Likewise, although scholars are increasingly writing about the personalization of politics, this literature has not considered whether parties can "personalize" their opponents by focusing their messaging and attacks more on individual leaders than the parties they lead. In an attempt to bridge the gap between these two literatures, we develop the concept of negative personalization. Negative personalization, as we define it, is an emphasis on opposing party leaders in campaign communication more so than on the parties that they lead. Exploring recent election campaigns in Canada's largest province, we document the extent to which parties engage in negative personalization and suggest hypotheses for the factors leading to increased negative personalization.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0008423916000779
Journal Canadian Journal of Political Science
Citation
Pruysers, S, & Cross, W. (2016). Research Note: Negative Personalization: Party Leaders and Party Strategy. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 49(3), 539–558. doi:10.1017/S0008423916000779