April 17, 2006

Campaign funding ... does it matter?

Obviously it matters to the parties and the people buying the peerages donating, what what about to the actual outcome of the election? In Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner they ask the question and the data they find comes back with a different answer than you (and the Parties) would think at first glance.
the amount of money spent by the candidates hardly matters at all. A winning candidate can cut his spending in half and lose only 1 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, a losing candidate who doubles his spending can expect to shift the vote in his favor by the same 1 percent.
We know that large amounts of political spending is dangerous, as it requires equally large amounts of funding. Funding that will be paid back in some way or other. We also know now that no matter how much funding is given the outcome will hardly change. So why no reduce the amount that the Parties can spend, and therefore have to acquire, by reducing the limits on campaign funding? Maybe to 50% or less of what it currently is (£20 million). No more big TV based national campaigns, but local campaigns, on local issues, fought locally. Force them to reconnect with their electors by removing the cash that has allowed them to disconnect.


Blogger tomdg said...

Great idea. They have problems with this in the US because they feel it violates the "free speech" principle, but I think you're absolutely right.

Again, my in-laws feel that the way things are now their role locally in campaigning etc. is marginalised. Your idea would certainly reverse that trend.

7:59 am  

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