Department of Political Science

Two strategies for building a personal vote: Personalized representation in the UK and Denmark

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Across parliamentary democracies, elected representatives constitute the link between citizens and government. MPs can connect with voters via the party label, or through personalized forms of representation, which is seen to be increasing in importance. However, scholars disagree on what explains variation in MPs’ use of personalized representation strategies. In this article, we argue that politicians use different strategies to personalize the link between themselves and citizens: a constituency-oriented and a person-oriented strategy. To test our argument, we develop a new and novel dataset with behavioral measures of personalized representation. Using a content analyses of 698 British and Danish MPs’ personal websites, we demonstrate that the use of personalization strategies is conditional on the incentives MPs face in terms of electoral insecurity, candidate selection procedures, and the electoral context of the system. Our findings show that the level and type of personalized politics vary across political systems and may pose different types of challenges to party democracies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalElectoral Studies
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Communication strategies, Electoral incentives, MP websites, Party democracy, Personalized politics

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