European journal of political research vol:48 issue:1 pages:58-79
This article analyses the dynamics of electoral competition in a multilevel setting. It is based on a content analysis of the party manifestos of the Spanish PP and PSOE in eight regional elections held between 2001 and 2003. It provides an innovative coding scheme for analysing regional party manifestos and on that basis seeks to account for inter-regional, intra-party and inter-party differences in regional campaigning. The authors have tried to explain the inter-regional variation of the issue profiles of state-wide parties in regional elections on the basis of a model with four independent variables: the asymmetric nature of the system, the electoral cycle, the regional party systems and the organisation of the state-wide parties. Three of their hypotheses are rejected, but the stronger variations in the regional issue profiles of the PSOE corroborate the assumption that parties with a more decentralised party organisation support regionally more diverse campaigning. The article concludes by offering an alternative explanation for this finding and by suggesting avenues for further research.