What do the academics say? Being local works

Academic cap and gown - Some rights reserved by NoDivisionWelcome to the latest in our occasional series highlighting interesting findings from academic research. Today – it’s the effect of being local on a candidate’s election chances, courtesy of an article in Political Geography [£]:

In this paper, we [analyse] the British General Election of 2010 and the British Election Survey, together with geographical data from Ordnance Survey and Royal Mail, to test the hypothesis that candidate distance matters in voters’ choice of candidate. Using a conditional logit model, we find that the distance between voter and candidates from the three main parties (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) matters in English constituencies, even when controlling for strong predictors of vote choice, such as party feeling and incumbency advantage.

Although it’s not tested for, I suspect ‘being local’ in this case means a mix of two factors: the public like local candidates (they really like local candidates – see this earlier research) and also the closer a candidate lives, the better placed they usually are to lead, organise and take part in campaigning in the constituency.

You can read the other posts in our What do the academics say? series here.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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4 Comments

  • I presume there will shortly be a research paper declaring tha the yolk is definitely on the inside of each egg?

    Liberal Democrats have known this fact for years. Which is why short-listers often effectively determine who will be the parliamentary candidate in a winnable constituency while trying to be ‘politically correct’.

  • Richard Dean 25th Jan '13 - 2:45am

    Thinking outside the box a bit, or indeed the egg, isn’t it time that Libdems came out of their comfort zone and embraced a modern reality in which yokes have the strategic and tactical freedoms to be more or less anywhere, and indeed often prefer to explore where they haven’t been before? :-)

  • Doesn’t stop hee-hawing donkeys and trumpeting elephants being parachuted into safe seats because they wear the correct rosette though, and it won’t stop ambitious party honchos continuing to execute coups over the public in this way, does it?

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