Munich Personal RePEc Archive

“On the Campaign Trail: The Electoral Effects of Leader Visits”

Davis, Brent (2016): “On the Campaign Trail: The Electoral Effects of Leader Visits”.

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The campaign trail is an integral part of most elections. In an Australian federal election, it means the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader engage in a strategic program of visits, both to ‘our seats’ (the one’s we want to hold on to) and ‘their seats’ (the one’s we want to take from the other party).

This article is the first to examine visits by multiple, competing political leaders in an election, in a Westminster system. Using a unique data set from the 2013 Australian federal election, there appears to be a non-random, strategic approach to the selection of seats visited by political leaders.

However, using a counterfactual analysis, leader visits do not appear to have a major impact in determining the broader outcome of the election, although the absence of leader visits could have changed the outcome in a number of ALP Government-held seats.

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