Many scholars suggest that candidates are increasingly personalizing their campaign efforts, local organizations, and even their messaging. A variety of temporal factors have been identified as fueling this personalization of politics, including the decline of partisanship, evolving media norms, and changes in party organization such as the adoption of primaries. The personalization of politics is linked to spatial, or geographic, factors, as well. Research suggests that in geographically defined electoral systems, personalized campaigning most often involves a focus on district-level issues and that this translates into parliamentarians prioritizing local interests in the legislature. One potentially important factor that has been relatively understudied in explaining personalization is money, especially its geographic source. Using an innovative dataset that pairs candidate survey responses with administrative financial data, we test whether candidates are less likely to run personalized campaigns when their local party organization receives a higher proportion of its total income from the party at the centre. Our findings suggest that the degree to which campaign funds are raised locally or transferred from the central party office helps shape the message that local candidates convey to voters, although not how they get their message out.

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Keywords Campaign spending, Constituency campaign, Election financing, Personalization, Political parties
Persistent URL
Journal Political Geography
Cross, W, Currie-Wood, R. (Rob), & Pruysers, S. (2020). Money talks: Decentralized personalism and the sources of campaign funding. Political Geography, 82. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102242