This project focuses on electoral pledges: promises made by political actors in electoral campaigns. For democracy to function effectively, political parties must offer clear choices to voters during election campaigns. However, as parties’ communication with voters has become increasingly fragmented and (micro)targeted, it is much harder for citizens to keep track of what parties are promising. This project combines traditional social science research methods with newly developed computational research methods to automatically detect and classify political pledges in online advertisements and aims to answer the following overarching questions:
· To what extent do parties make specific and distinct promises to voters during election campaigns?
· How do parties’ specific election pledges relate to more general themes, issues, and principles that distinguish parties from each other?
· How are parties’ promises communicated to voters during election campaigns?
The project is funded by the Swedish Riksbanken and consists of an international and interdisciplinary team.