The relationship between electoral systems and political marketing: Israel 1988-2003

Yehudith Auerbach, Talya Yehuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the effects of changes in electoral systems on political marketing, and, more particularly, the impact of the shift from the parliamentary electoral system which has been in operation in Israel since 1948, to the presidentary (combined of elements from the parliamentary system, and the presidential system) on the two largest Israeli parties' marketing strategies. Out of 670 political broadcasts by Likud and Labour, 207 were examined for five out of the six electoral campaigns that took place since 1988: the 1988 and 1992 campaigns, before the switch to the presidentary system, the 1996 and 1999 campaigns after the establishment of the combined system and the 2003 campaign, after Israel changed back to the parliamentary electoral system. The findings supported the study's main arguments regarding the extent and direction of the impact of the change in the electoral system on the developments in political marketing. Beginning in 1996, there was a decrease in broadcasts presenting political issues and a sharp increase in broadcasts that focus on personality alone. Equivalently, the percentage of broadcasts addressing the centre of the political map, rather than distinct publics, grew significantly. In 2003, with the return to the parliamentary system, the marketing strategy of the two parties, and more particularly of the Labour Party, changed back to the pre-1992 pattern: a large percentage of the broadcasts focused on issues and not on the candidates' personalities, and addressed distinct target audiences rather than the centre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-364
Number of pages30
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Electoral system
  • Political campaign
  • Political marketing
  • Presidentary system


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