My research generally applies quantitative research methods on elite survey data to answer substantially important research questions about political campaigning, electoral behaviour, and representation. Therefore, I am mainly interested in understanding the campaign choices and views of political elites, how these vary across politicians and political systems, how effective they are in winning votes, and to what extent they align with voters' expectations and preferences.
My research into the campaign behaviour of parliamentary candidates is largely based on original elite survey data. I conduct the Estonian Candidate Study and the Welsh Candidate Study, and am part of the cross-national Comparative Candidates Survey initiative. They provide valuable data on the personal and political profile of parliamentary candidates, including their campaign choices and political attitudes.
I am currently in the process of setting up a new OpenElections project, with Caitlin Milazzo and Joshua Townsley. It aims to utilise crowd-sourcing and citizen science, in collaboration with Democracy Club, to develop a website (http://www.openelections.co.uk) which improves voters' awareness of the campaign materials that parties and candidates distribute. It will host an easy-to-use tool that can be used to analyse the diversity of campaign messages disseminated by political elites and encourage a citizen science-driven analysis of campaign material by allowing users to code the campaign messages on a number of different dimensions.
This project is funded through the UKRI Public Engagement scheme (grant ref: BB/T019026/1).
2019: Trumm, S. "Renewed Electoral Pitch for Independence in Wales". In D. Jackson, E. Thorsen, D. Lilleker and N. Weidhase (eds.) UK Election Analysis 2019: Media, Voters and the Campaign. Bournemouth: The Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research. [link]
2016: Trumm, S. "What does it take to get elected in a post-communist democracy? Explaining the success and failure of parliamentary candidates in Estonia". East European Politics and Societies, 30(1): 169-188. [link] [post-print manuscript]
I am also interested in the demand side of the electoral story. My research looks at which voters are more likely to cast their ballot for right-wing populist parties, and what might explain variation in electoral participation more broadly.
2018: Trumm, S. "The 'new' wave of populist right-wing parties in Central and Eastern Europe: Explaining electoral support for the Conservative People's Party of Estonia". Representation, 54(4): 331-347. [link] [post-print manuscript]
2018: Trumm, S. and Sudulich, L. "What does it take to make it to the polling station? The effects of campaign activities on electoral participation". Party Politics, 24(2): 168-184. [link] [post-print manuscript]
The final main strand of my research brings together political elites and voters. It looks at what our political elites think and believe in - e.g., their ideological positions, policy priorities, views on parliamentary representation, attitudes towards Brexit - and what it means for political representation. Are the views of our political elites in line with those that are held by the people they seek to represent? Are the views of our political elites shaped by the same factors that determine the preferences of the electorate?
Out of touch and out of time?
I am Co-Investigator on the ESRC funded project "Out of touch and out of time? A cross-temporal and cross-level analysis of the social and ideological distance between UK voters and political elites" (grant ref: ES/R003785/1). This project aims to combine data from the existing candidate studies in Britain and link it to British Election Study data on voters and, in doing so, provide the basis for studying the interaction between voters and political elites in Britain.
2020: Trumm, S., Milazzo, C. and Townsley, J. "The 2016 EU referendum: Explaining support for Brexit among would-be British MPs". Political Studies, Forthcoming.
2018: Trumm, S. "Representation in Wales: An empirical analysis of the policy divisions between voters and candidates". The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 20(2): 425-440. [link] [post-print manuscript]