AbstractsPolitical Science

Campaigning without Subsidies. Explorations on the Organization and Funding of the Election Campaigns of Independent Local Parties in the Netherlands

by J. Bergwerff

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Election Campaigns; Party Finance; Independent Local Parties; Netherlands
Record ID: 1262742
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/30176


This study examines the organization and funding of the election campaigns of independent local parties in the Netherlands. Due to their representation in the national parliament, Dutch national parties receive public subsidy. As such, they are able to transfer funds to their local divisions in the municipalities across the country, in order to finance their party activities including election campaigns. Independent local parties, however, do not qualify for these funds, since they are not represented in the Dutch legislature. How, then, do independent local parties fund and organize their election campaigns? Based on a survey amongst more than 300 respondents, the most important campaign activities, most common expenditures and the most common sources of income could be identified. The most common methods of campaigning include placing campaign boards and posters throughout the municipality, participating in election debates, flyer actions, publishing the election program on the party’s website, performing local radio or television shows, advertising in local or regional newspapers and enhancing familiarity by using Facebook. The most parties have spent their money on campaign boards and posters, advertisements and flyer actions, while the most money per party is spent on advertisement, canvassing and other expenditures. On the revenue side, the most parties received their money for the campaign budget from council member contributions, membership fees and private member donations, while the highest amounts of money per party were received from council member contributions, aldermen contributions and other income sources. It is also found that the number of party members, the municipality size, the number of council members and the number of aldermen on the one hand, and the size of the campaign budget on the other hand are positively correlated. Their explanatory value on the organization of the election campaigns, however, is low, just as the influence of the party type. While about 45 percent of the respondents thinks public funding of their election campaigns is necessary, a larger proportion of them thinks public funding would be a desirable development. The key argument is that almost all respondent want a level playing field when it comes to regulations on private donations and public party funding. The results of this study show that proponents and opponents of public party funding both think that independent local parties and national parties should be treated the same in this regard.