List of topics:
1. Assessing winnability through opinion polls
2. Leaders and candidates by personality


1. Assessing winnability through opinion polls

Political parties throughout the region are getting more sophisticated in management and campaigning. One of the remarkable new features spreading rapidly is the focus on winnability in selection of and campaigning for candidates. When it was sufficient in former days to identify candidates willing to pay for their own campaign and an overhead for the party, more and more parties employ polling companies or establish a polling section within the parties.

As a first example here we refer to the rapidly growing and professionalizing polling industry in Indonesia:

“Like the headquarters management, also the campaign organisation has undergone improvements. Bodies inside the parties have been established that coordinate the campaigns while external organisations are being set up to reach out to constituencies. Polling and political consulting companies are being used during all phases of the campaign. They have reached extraordinary professional levels knowing the political preferences in districts, streets and households and targeting those households with party messages. These companies are also employed for the selection of candidates. Since voters increasingly look for the individual credentials of political candidates the parties need to find out who scores high on popularity and electability, besides assessing the candidates’ financial capacities. While formal procedures exist and come to be used, candidate selection is still being dominated by informal agreements that often cause conflict between national headquarters and local party branches. The permanent search for popular candidates combined with the necessity to appear internally united therefore puts pressure on parties to follow formal procedures over informal agreements.”

Source: Heufers, Ellwein, Putri and M.Thamrin, Indonesia: A Society on the Doorstep, in: Sachsenröder, Wolfgang (ed), Stability and Performance of Political Parties in Southeast Asia – How Parties Work on the Ground. Coming up in ISEAS publications 2013

2. Leaders and candidates by personalityExtroverts

Partyforumseasia: Business psychology is probably better researched than political psychology, but the parallels can be striking. Daniel A. Pink, author of “To Sell is Human” writes in the Washington Post of 28 January 2013

“…leaders are often pitching customers and clients, of course. But they’re also persuading employees, convincing suppliers, sweet-talking funders or cajoling a board. At the core of their exalted work is a less glamorous truth: Leaders sell.
...and attract and convince party members and voters.

Experience and conventional wisdom seems to suggest that “born” leaders are more extrovert than introvert. Their shortcomings are evident, though:
“Extroverts can talk too much and listen too little. They can overwhelm others with the force of their personalities. Sometimes they care too deeply about being liked and not enough about getting tough things done.”
If introverts are too shy as leaders, Pink suggests a middle way, the ambivert:
“We’d be far better off with those who take a more calibrated approach — who can talk smoothly but also listen keenly, who know when to turn on the charm but also when to turn it off, who combine the extrovert’s assertiveness with the introvert’s quiet confidence. In other words, when it comes to picking leaders, perhaps we should look for people a bit more like us.”
The 1000 $ question: Which type of personalities dominates our parties?

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