Campaign Consultants and Political Parties Today

Authored by: Maik Bohne , Alicia Kolar Prevost , James A. Thurber

Routledge Handbook of Political Management

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  March  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415962254
eBook ISBN: 9780203892138
Adobe ISBN: 9781135897499

10.4324/9780203892138.ch35

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Abstract

The rise of political consultants represents one of the most important changes to electoral politics worldwide,1 but in no other country have consultants been as central to political campaigning and issue advocacy as in the United States. Here, they are at the core of professionalized electioneering; their number is growing and their services have become increasingly specialized. Each year, at least 50,000 campaigns for local, state, and federal office employ political consultants, offering everything from polling, fundraising, strategic advice about allocating campaign resources to developing a campaign theme and message, to legal advice about campaign finance law.2 In the 2006 House and Senate races, the average number of paid consultants per campaign was 2.2, and sixty-seven campaigns had four consultants or more.3 Electioneering services offered by consultants today encompass an impressive array of technologies: survey research, predictive turnout models to enhance targeting efforts, Internet advertising, campaign blogs, and computer-assisted phone calls, to name a few. Political consultants are such an important part of campaigns at all levels—from small town mayors to presidential candidates—that some scholars even see a shift from candidate-centered to consultant-centered campaigns.4

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