Chapter 15 Summary.doc

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1400
Professor
Nanita Mohan

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PARTIES, VOTING and the Election Campaign This chapter has three main parts: 1. The national party campaign 2. The local candidate campaign 3. Electoral behaviour and party support Theoretical Considerations Electoral behaviours and party support is the subject that attracts the most theoretical consideration as studying the behaviour of voters is a fascinating branch of Canadian Political Science. Information on this is gathered through public opinion surveys. The National Party Campaign: 1. Elections are held every four years. However, the governing party may decide to call the elections earlier if it fees it to be an opportune time – based on public support(1997, 2000 and 2004-Liberals), to avoid being defeated in the commons(2008- Conservatives) or elections may be called when a governing party falls based on a non-confidence vote(2006- Martin government) 2. Political parties begin thinking about the next election as soon as the lat one has passed as they need atleast a year of planning before the next campaign 3. Election planning involves : • Setting up a national campaign committee – to plan the strategy, policy, image, budget. • Hold public opinion polls to understand public opinion on leadership, parties and issues • Search for good Candidates by local party organizations. However, the leader, regional lieutenants and party organizers may select a few “star” candidates into safe seats. • National fundraising from the public and small individual contributions • Before or immediately after the election call, headquarters hold campaign colleges, schools and seminars for candidates, campaign managers and other local campaign officials, advertisement materials, nowadays- videos and draft “issue letters” and fact sheets for candidates to use Election Strategy 1. Election strategy is decision of which groups within the electorate to target, whether to emphasize the leader or issues, and whether to proceed with an offensive or defensive campaign. 2. The work involves finalizing the leader’s tour itinerary, daily tracking of polling results and focus group findings, ongoing testing of campaign slogans and phrasing, determine the final changes of the ads, preparing the leader’s debates Election Platform The is a list of the actions and promises which a political party makes to the general public –lower taxes, more social services etc. Examples – the liberal ‘red book’ in 1993 and their ‘green shift’ in 2008 The Leader’s Tour The leader’s tour crisscrossing the country many times over the campaign period to attract attention in the areas visited and to generate national media coverage. The media coverage is free and television coverage is important to reaching the voters. Reporters who accompany them pay to travel on the party plane or bus Media coverage Parties hope the leader’s tour will get them one positive story every day on the national television news and in daily newspapers. However different parties receive quite unequal quantity of attention. Also as large corporations control the ownership of most of the mass media, the coverage reflects the political view of the media outlets such as the National Post’s conservative view. National Media Advertising 1. Television is the most important part of the media campaign 2. The advertising is carried out by the advertising agencies based on the party’s campaign strategy 3. The Election’s Act regulates the purchasing of broadcast time 4. Representatives of registered parties negotiate with the Broadcasting Arbitrator before the election and come to an agreement on the allocation of broadcasting time. 5. Each broadcaster must make available for purchase six and one-half hours of prime time during the campaign 6. one party cannot receive more than one half of the time, but more time can be purchased at party expense 7. Allocations are primarily based on the number of seats a party holds and on the popular vote received in the prior election. 8. Parties are given free radio and television time in the same proportion The Leader’s Debate • These debates have been held in every election since 1968 except 1972, 1974 and 1980 • Debates tend to benefit the opposition party leaders who might otherwise have
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