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Title: Party cohesion and local agendas : a study in variations in local campaign strategies in Scotland
Author: Agasoster, Bodil
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2001
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The thesis studies variation in the local election campaigns of the Scottish parties in the British 1987, 1992 and 1997 general elections, and seeks to measure and explain the variation in local campaign strategies. Data include elite interviews, an agent survey on the local campaigns and quantitative content analysis of the parties' Scottish and local manifestos in 1997. The theoretical framework builds on organisational and rational party perspectives and theories on the importance of geography for political phenomena. We expected to find substantial in-party and between-party variation in the campaign techniques, intensity, equipment/resources and the local manifestos across Scotland. Furthermore, we expected visible differences between the parties' correlates of campaign variables with region, local party competition, and the candidates' experience. We hoped to be able to identify party differences in levels of party centralisation, and to explain differences in campaigning by these. We hypothesised that: 1) parties would maximise campaign resources in marginal seats; 2) within-party policy variation would be most extensive in rural seats; 3) the level of party centralisation would be negatively associated with variation in policy contents, and positively with targeting; and 4) there was likely to be a positive association between the candidate's experience and their emphasis in the local manifestos. Most of the expected patterns of variation were confirmed, but extensive between-party variations were identified. We were only able to confirm the hypothesis about concentration of resources in marginal seats convincingly for the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and partly for Labour. Further we found that except for the Tories, policy tended to vary most within rural seats; that the relationship between party centralisation and within-party variation in campaign strategies needs further exploration; and that overall, while the most experienced candidates receive most attention in the local manifestos, the Conservatives also sometimes focus on newer candidates.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available