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Über dieses Buch

Big data and microtargeting steal the headlines about campaigning. But how important are they really to the way that political parties campaign? This book provides a fine-grained account of the campaign practices of three Australian political parties. It explores how prevalent data-driven campaigning is, introduces an original theoretical framework to understand these practices, and demonstrates that there is a disconnect between what Australian voters think about these issues and the way that parties campaign in the 21st century. Drawing on 161 interviews, participant observation and original survey data, it shows that the reality of contemporary campaigning is often different to what we are led to believe.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This first chapter sets the context for the rest of the book by providing an overview of the topic, research questions, argument and what will be covered in each of the chapters. I set out the logic of the book, the cases examined and the scope of the analysis. I argue that a great deal can be learnt from a fine-grained analysis of campaigning by political parties in Australia. These insights can inform our understanding of political parties in parliamentary democracies, as well as our understanding of twenty-first-century campaigning. I also argue that Australia provides an excellent laboratory to test some of the key arguments in the scholarship about political parties and campaigning.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 2. Theorising Contemporary Campaign Practices

Abstract
This chapter will do three things. First, it will describe the relationship between how a political party campaigns and the way they organise themselves, drawing on much of the classic literature in the field. Second, it will discuss the literature on data-driven campaign practices. This includes the evidence about how these practices are affecting political parties and democracy. Third, I set out my original theoretical framework, the data-driven model of campaigning. I argue that this framework, built on insights from the empirical data collected for this project and the secondary literature, provides a way forward for scholars trying to understand different types of data-driven practices, including how these affect political parties in advanced democracies such as Australia.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 3. Data and Analytics

Abstract
This chapter considers the use of data and analytics in Australian campaigning. It discusses how political parties in Australia collect data, where the data comes from, and how they analyse and use data to target voters. I demonstrate that despite what is often assumed, sophisticated data and analytics practices are extremely uneven. As I outline, data and analytics practices may place parties in a strong position to deal with changes in the macro-political environment, but the efficacy of these practices is debatable, especially in a country that uses a mixed electoral system, where elections are multi-party contests, and where compulsory voting prevails. One effect of data and analytics operations, however, is that it changes how parties perceive the electorate and can affect who political parties engage with and through which channel.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 4. Campaigning Online

Abstract
In this chapter, I begin by tracing the rise of digital campaigning in Australia, including the use of targeted social media advertising. I describe changes in the macro-political environment, including how voters receive political news and engage politically. I draw heavily on interview data with digital campaigners from the parties, consultants who have worked for the parties as well as other relevant campaigners. I argue that despite the preoccupation with digital in the international scholarship, it remains a secondary channel in Australian election campaigns. The reasons for this include the institutional architecture of Australian democracy, as well as scepticism about how effective digital is at persuading voters, especially in the major parties.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 5. Winning the ‘Ground War’

Abstract
This chapter focuses on field campaigning. While doorknocking or phonebanking may appear analogue in the digital age, twenty-first-century field campaigns are about more than generic voter outreach. Data is meant to be central to these practices but as will be shown, there is little consistency in how parties collect or employ data in their field campaigns. Nonetheless, the field campaigns provide significant insight into how political parties are evolving, including the continued blurring between members and supporters. Given Australian parties are focussed on persuasion, field campaigns are the key channel that two of the Australian parties use to persuade voters and it is seen as increasingly important in the other. This suggests campaign organisation in Australia differs from what is evident elsewhere and this is largely a product of compulsory voting.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 6. Data-Driven Campaigning: A Case Study from the Ground

Abstract
In this chapter, I use a case study of how the Labor Party attempted to target voters who were viewed as ‘persuadable’ and who were perceived to be intending to vote for Australia’s populist radical right party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. I demonstrate that while the strategy was underpinned by a sophisticated data and analytics operation, the messages delivered to these voters had been tested and the messaging was layered and integrated across online and offline channels, the experiences of campaigners on the ground suggests the strategy failed. I utilise extensive interview data—including interviews with volunteers in eleven electorates as well as intra-party actors and stakeholders—to point to some of the challenges that parties face in embracing data-driven campaigning.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 7. Voter Attitudes to Data-Driven Campaigning

Abstract
The focus of the chapters preceding this one has been on describing and analysing the campaign practices of Australian parties. This includes how these practices affect party organisation. This chapter analyses what voters think of data-driven campaign practices. Drawing on data from an original survey instrument, I explore Australian voter attitudes to a range of relevant issues and themes. This includes questions about whether Australian political parties should remain exempt from privacy legislation, how concerned voters are about parties collecting data on them, and their views on how online advertising should be dealt with by social media companies. The results show that there is a disconnect between the preferences of Australian voters and the current regulatory and legislative environment. There is also a disconnect between voter preferences and the policies of social media companies.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Abstract
In this chapter, the conclusion, the threads of the analysis are drawn together. I restate the central argument and summarise the findings. I begin by considering what the evidence presented in this book says about political parties and campaigning. I argue that the original framework I developed and presented in Chapter 2 has utility for scholars interested in data-driven campaigning. I then move on to consider the way data-driven campaigning is affecting Australian political parties. Most notably this is a product of field campaigning, but digital as well as data and analytics are also significant. I then move on to discuss what we have learnt about the efficacy of these campaigns. I conclude by talking about how voters perceive these practices and what these findings mean for Australian democracy.
Glenn Kefford

Chapter 10. Research Appendix

Abstract
This book was motivated by an interest in how political parties’ campaign and the ways they organisationally manage what seemed to be contradictory forces in digital and field campaigning. As is often the way with academic projects, the actual argument as well as the design changed significantly over time. When I first started researching campaigning, the questions I was interested in were quite modest. This was primarily due to a lack of time to do the research as well as a lack of financial support for this research. As my circumstances changed, the ambition and scale of the project expanded.
Glenn Kefford

Backmatter

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