Sudulich, L., Trumm, S. & Bridgewater, J. 2019. "Parliamentary Representation: A Cross-National Study of Candidates’ Views". Parliamentary Affairs, OnlineFirst.

This study explores political elites’ self-conceptualisation of parliamentary representation by using data on nearly 7000 candidates encompassing 18 elections in 15 countries. We examine the relevance of institutional features, closeness to the sources of representatives’ mandates, party family, as well as candidates’ personal characteristics, with a modelling strategy that accommodates the understanding of role orientation as a two-stage process. We posit that choosing between being loyal to a party or to voters is not equivalent to prioritising one’s own agency in the first place, and suggest that self-conceptualisation of parliamentary representation happens in two different stages. We find that individual-level characteristics such as gender and ideological proximity to one’s party, but also party family, play a key role in shaping views on authority versus independence. The effects of political environment and institutions are limited to shaping a choice between responding to one’s party or constituents.

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Sudulich, L. & Trumm, S. 2019. "A Comparative Study of the Effects of Electoral Institutions on Campaigns". British Journal of Political Science, 49/1: 381-399.

A long tradition of studies in political science has unveiled the effects of electoral institutions on party systems and parliamentary representation. Yet, their effects on campaign activities remain overlooked. Research in this tradition still lacks a strong comparative element able to explore the nuanced role that electoral institutions play in shaping individual-level campaigns during first-order parliamentary elections. We use data from a variety of national candidate studies to address this lacuna, showing that the electoral mobilisation efforts put in place by candidates are affected by the structure of the electoral institutions. Candidate-centred electoral systems propel higher mobilisation efforts, in terms of both campaign intensity and complexity. Moreover, we find that candidate-centred electoral systems shift the campaign focus towards individuals more than parties. By directly addressing the effects of electoral institutions on campaign behaviour, our study contributes to the wider debate on their role in promoting political engagement and mobilisation. The implications of our results concern the effects of electoral institutions on political competition, indicating that the extent to which electoral institutions impact upon it go well beyond what has been shown to date.

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Trumm, S. 2018. "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.

Rising support for populist right-wing parties has become a key story of recent decades. It has mainly been making headlines in Western democracies but is also becoming increasingly prevalent in Central and Eastern Europe. Despite there being strong evidence that campaigns influence electoral performance, and a large body of literature profiling the voters of populist right-wing parties, we still know little about the comparative relevance of parties’ campaign efforts and voters’ personal characteristics for supporting such parties. Merging data from the 2015 Estonian Candidate Study and the 2015 Estonian National Election Study, this article explains electoral support for the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia. It finds that both individual-level and party-level factors influence voters’ likelihood of casting their ballot for the populist right-wing party. Support for the party is higher in constituencies where it carries out more intense campaigns, and amongst voters who hold anti-establishment sentiments and are socially conservative. In contrast to populist right-wing parties in the West, however, anti-immigration feelings and Euroscepticism do not drive support for it. These findings show that support for populist right-wing parties is shaped by their campaign effort and their ability to tap into the ‘right’ kind of disillusionment.

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Trumm, S. 2018. "The Best of Both Worlds? Evaluating the Campaign Behaviour of Dual Candidates". Electoral Studies, 56: 14/22.

The conventional wisdom of electoral politics suggests that parliamentary candidates who run for office under candidate-centred mechanisms tend to conduct more intense and personalised campaigns than those who run under party-centred ones. But what about the campaigns put in place by candidates who simultaneously run under both systems? Using original data from the 2016 Welsh Candidate Study, this article shows that dual candidates’ campaign behaviour is distinct from that of their constituency and regional list counterparts. Their campaign effort tends to be more intense as well as complex than that put in place by candidates who stand in one tier only. In addition, the findings show that dual candidates’ campaign messages tend to be more personalised than those of regional list candidates, but less personalised than those of constituency candidates. These results indicate that the electoral campaigns put in place by dual candidates combine elements of campaigning under candidate-centred and party-centred electoral systems.

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Trumm, S. & Sudulich, L. 2018. "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.

This study explores the extent to which campaign visibility facilitates electoral participation, using data from first- and second-order elections in Britain. Our contribution to the existing literature is threefold. First, we assess whether the effects of campaign effort are conditioned by marginality, finding that campaign mobilization gets out the vote regardless of the competitiveness of the race. Second, we look at the relative ability of different campaign activities to stimulate turnout, detecting significant differences. Third, we show that the effects of campaign effort on electoral participation are rather similar in first- and second-order elections. These findings suggest that a greater level of electoral information provided by campaign activities does reduce the cost of voting. Local campaigns play a key role in bringing voters to the polls in marginal and non-marginal races and at general elections as much as at second-order elections.

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Trumm, S. 2018. "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.


Politics in Wales is often portrayed as being relatively consensual when compared with the rest of the United Kingdom and enjoying healthy levels of trust between voters and elites. Recent events like the decision of Welsh voters to reject the European Union membership against the advice of most of its political establishment, however, are calling to question this perception. Using 2016 Welsh Candidate Study and 2016 Welsh Election Study data, this paper evaluates the extent of policy divisions between voters and candidates in Wales. I find that candidates hold more liberal policy positions and are less likely to think of immigration as the most important policy priority. In addition, they tend to favour a different approach to parliamentary representation, deeming it more acceptable for Assembly Members to discard the views of their voters in favour of their own views or those of their party.

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Trumm, S., Sudulich, L. & Townsley, J. 2017. "Information Effect on Voter Turnout: How Campaign Spending Mobilises Voters". Acta Politca, 52/4: 461-478.

We explore the impact of campaign effort on constituency-level turnout variation in Britain, under the premise that higher levels of campaign visibility stimulate electoral participation. We focus on the relationship between the competitiveness of the race and campaign effort as a provider of electoral information on the one hand, and voter turnout on the other hand. In doing so, we address the role of campaign effort and competitiveness in shaping turnout both independently as well as jointly. Further to this, we seek to add nuance to our understanding of how electoral campaigns mobilise voters by evaluating the comparative ability of different parties – based on whether or not they are ‘viable’ contenders in a particular constituency – to stimulate turnout. We find evidence that campaign effort mobilises voters and has a significant positive effect on voter turnout; this effect is independent from, and unconditioned by, the competitiveness of the race. However, we do find that this effect is mostly driven by the campaign effort of the ‘viable’ contenders in the constituency.

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Trumm, S. 2016. "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.

The literature on post-communist democracies has traditionally suggested that organisational strength is considerably less important for electoral success than extensive media-based campaigns. Recent studies on party-level electoral dynamics, however, indicate that this might not be the case any longer. Building on these insights, this study goes beyond the party-level analyses of electoral success and failure by focusing on the electoral fortunes of individual candidates in a post-communist democracy. Using original data from the 2011 Estonian Candidate Survey, this article looks at the comparative impact of candidates’ campaign spending and the strength of their local party organisation, alongside other potentially relevant characteristics, on their likelihood of getting elected and vote share. The findings suggest that candidates’ electoral performance in Estonia is still first and foremost shaped by their own campaign spending. In addition, I find evidence that candidates fare better if they have prior local-level and national-level political experience, conduct more personalised campaigns, and are positioned higher up on their party’s district-level list.

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Trumm, S. 2015. "Voting Procedures and Parliamentary Representation in the European Parliament". Journal of Common Market Studies, 53/5: 1126-1142.

Parliamentary representation is a fluid concept. Yet, while the behaviour of elected representatives during roll call votes has been widely analyzed, we know little about how parliamentarians act when their individual voting choices are not made public. This paper explores the relationship between voting procedures and the likelihood that Members of the European Parliament prioritize the interests of their EP party group versus the interests of their national party. Using an original survey, I find that MEPs are more likely to prioritize the interests of their national party over those of their EP party group when voting by show of hands or electronically, as opposed to by roll call. Moreover, this voting procedure effect is particularly salient among MEPs elected from 2004/07 accession countries.

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Bolleyer, N. & Trumm, S. 2014. "From Parliamentary Pay to Party Funding: The Acceptability of Informal Institutions in Advanced Democracies". European Journal of Political Research, 53/4: 784-802.

While direct state funding of political parties has been a prominent theme in cross-national research over the last decade, we still know little about party strategies to access state resources that are not explicitly earmarked for partisan usage. This article looks at one widespread but often overlooked informal party practice: the ‘taxing’ of MP salaries – that is, the regular transfer of fixed salary shares to party coffers. Building on notions of informal institutions developed in work on new democracies, the theoretical approach specifies factors that shape the acceptability of this legally non-enforceable intra-organisational practice. It is tested through a selection model applied to a unique dataset covering 124 parties across 19 advanced democracies. Controlling for a range of party- and institutional-level variables, it is found that the presence of a taxing rule and the collection of demanding tax shares are more common in leftist parties (high internal acceptability) and in systems in which the penetration of state institutions by political parties is intense (high external acceptability).

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Bolleyer, N., Trumm, S. & Banducci, S. 2013. "Towards an Organizational Perspective on Party Funding: Explaining Financial Transfers from MEPs to Their National Parties". European Journal of Political Research, 52/2: 237-263.

Which parties represented in the European Parliament (EP) are able to extract regular donations from their MEPs' salaries and, if they extract donations, how great are they? In the literature on party finances, there has been a lack of attention paid to the use of salaries of elected representatives as a source of funding. This is surprising given that the national headquarters of many parties in Europe regularly collect ‘party taxes’: a fixed (and often significant) share of their elected representatives' salaries. In filling this gap, this article theoretically specifies two sets of party characteristics that account for the presence of a taxing rule and the level of the tax, respectively. The presence of a tax depends on the basic ‘acceptability’ of such an internal obligation that rests on a mutually beneficial financial exchange between parties' campaign finance contributions to their MEPs and MEPs' salary donations to their parties. The level of the tax, in contrast, depends on the level of intra-organisational compliance costs and parties' capacity to cope with these costs. Three factors are relevant to this second stage: MEPs' ideological position, the size of the parliamentary group and party control over candidate nomination. The framework is tested through a selection model applied to a unique dataset covering the taxing practices in parties across the European Union Member States.

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