Why political scientists should be cheering on the Conservative Party

Theresa May - photo CC BY 2 0 from EU2017 EE on Flickr

Theresa May- photo from EU2017.EE, used under the CC BY 2.0 license.

Political scientists spend a lot of time trying to measure what the impact of political campaigning really is on election results or how much election manifestos really matter.

The sort of experiments used in unsuffixed science are very rare. Scientists can try experiments with and without something present. For political scientists, it is rather harder as getting a party to try an election without a campaign or a manifesto is rather beyond the reach of their research budgets or ethical guidelines.

But now the Conservative Party has kindly gifted political scientists a handy field experiment in the European Parliament elections:

The [Conservative] party plans to spend no money on candidate campaigning, will not publish a manifesto and is refusing to hold a launch…

โ€œThe thinking is that if we make no effort then we will have an excuse for having done so badly. But it is seriously embarrassing,โ€ said one MEP. [The Guardian]

Long may this gift to political scientists continue.


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