The Pursuit of Electoral Visibility: The Political Communication Strategies of Canadian Municipal Candidates

  • Author / Creator
    Wagner, Angelia C
  • This study examines the role of gender and municipal context in the political communication strategies of Canadian municipal candidates. Specifically, how do differences in candidates’ personal characteristics, municipal context, political circumstances, and campaign resources shape their strategies for establishing and/or maintaining media and public visibility during a local election, and how do these differences help us to understand the gendered and municipal dimensions of political communication? To answer this question, I conducted a large-scale survey of candidates who ran for municipal office from 2010 to 2012, as well as interviews with a subset of respondents. Findings indicate that women and men politicians take an equally strategic approach to the use of communication techniques in their campaigns, suggesting any gendered differences in news coverage or public image are not due to differences in level of effort. In contrast, I demonstrate that major differences in the personal characteristics of city and non-city candidates, in the news media’s approach to covering the two groups, and in local preferences for or against certain campaign techniques shape candidates’ communication choices and outcomes. I also find that, despite the arrival of the Internet as a campaign tool, municipal candidates’ enduring faith in the importance of face-to-face contact with voters suggests scholarly concern over the lack of interaction between politicians and voters either online or in person is misplaced at the local level. Many municipal candidates are keen to discuss local political issues with voters.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Thorlakson, Lori (Political Science)
    • Garber, Judith (Political Science)
    • Krahn, Harvey (Sociology)
    • Everitt, Joanna (History and Politics, University of New Brunswick)