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Product Attribute-Based Voter Segmentation and Resource Advantage Theory

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Political parties have long since targeted the marginal constituency and floating voters using demographic segmentation approaches and the use of market segmentation techniques in general election campaigns is now well-documented (see Johnson 1971; Ahmed and Jackson 1979; Yorke and Meehan 1986; Baines et al. 2003). The actual practice of segmentation as undertaken by political parties and its relation to theory is less well-considered. This paper represents a serious attempt to outline how political parties targeted a priori segments of the electorate including gender, age and lifecycle in the 2005 British General Election when they should have been adopting a product attributed-based approach. Selected MORI surveys from April 2005 were analysed, using logistic regression to indicate the most important factors in determining how Britons vote. Principal components analysis provides an indication of how the three main British political parties are perceived. The paper discusses, using resource-advantage theory (Hunt 1995; Hunt and Arnett 2004) how political parties might use their party and leader image, and policies to build their popularity in an election campaign.
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