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Political Marketing Consultants

Political marketing is a strong area of practice, and a number of consultants who have become famous have written their own books and articles discussing their work. The role of staff both inside and outside of government in providing political marketing advice is not without controversy, as some question the power unelected advisors might have. This section lists research focused on consultants and work by the consultants themselves.

Academic Literature

Alaimo, Kara S. (2014). "Casting Ballots: What Political Campaigns Can Teach PR Professionals." Public Relations Tactics no. 21 (11):21-21.

Daves, Robert-P., and Frank Newport (2005). Pollsters under Attack. Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 69(5): 670-81.

Grossmann, M. (2009). "Going Pro? Political Campaign Consulting and the Professional Model." Journal of Political Marketing 8(2).

Hankin, S. (2010). "Size Matters? How to pick your pollster." Politics (Campaigns & Elections) 31(294): 47-51.

Johnson, Dennis (2007). No place for amateurs (2nd edn.). Routledge USA.

Kantola, A. and H. Seeck (2011). "Dissemination of Management into Politics: Michael Porter and the political uses of management consulting." Management and Learning 42(1): 25-47.

Karlsen, R. (2010). "Fear of the Political Consultant: Campaign Professionals and New Technology in Norwegian Electoral Politics." Party Politics 16(2): 193-214.

Kavanagh, D. (1996). Speaking truth to power? Pollsters as campaign advisers? European Journal of Marketing, vol. 30(10/11): 104-113.

Lennox Esselment, A, J. Lees-Marshment and A. Marland (2014) ‘The Nature of Political Advising to Prime Ministers in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom’ Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 52(3): 358-375

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer. (2015). "The Democratic Contribution of Political Market Researchers." Journal of Public Affairs no. 15 (1):1-10.

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer (2011) The Political Marketing Game, Palgrave Macmillan - Chapter 3 Leading responsively, section on advisers and consultants

Lees-Marshment, J and A Marland (2012) ‘The perspectives of Canadian political consultants about political marketing' The Canadian Journal of Communication Vol 37(2) pp 333-343

Lipari, L. (1999). Polling as Ritual. Journal of Communication, Winter edn.: 83-101.

Medvic, Stephen K. (2001).  Political Consultants in U.S. Congressional Elections, Parliaments and Legislatures Series. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

Medvic , Stephen K. (2003) ‘Campaign Pollsters and Polling: Manipulating the Voter or Taking the Electorate's Pulse?' Chapter 2 in Watson, R. P. and C. C. Campbell (2003). Campaigns and elections : issues, concepts, cases, Boulder, Colo. : L. Rienner Publishers

Medvic, Stephen (2006). Understanding Campaign Strategy 'Deliberate Priming' and the Role of Professional Political Consultants. Journal of Political Marketing, vol. 5(1/2): 11-32.

Mills, Stephen. (2014). The Professionals: Strategy, Money & the Rise of the Political Campaigner in Australia. Collingwood, Victoria, Australia: Black Inc.

Moore, D. W. (1992). Superpollsters: how they measure and manipulate public opinion in America. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.

Myers, Greg (2004). Matters of opinion: talking about public issues. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Powell, L. and J. Cowart (2013). ch. 1 Political Communication – sections on the inside view of political professionals - in Political Campaign Communication: Inside and Out. Boston, Pearson.

Robert, V. F. and R. V. Friedenberg (1997) ‘Polling Consultants: The Intelligence Service of the Ballot Box Wars’ chapter 2 in Robert, V. F. and R. V. Friedenberg  Communication consultants in political campaigns: ballot box warriors, Westport, Conn : Praeger, 1997.

Scammell, Margaret. (2014) Chapter 2 Political marketers: who are they and what do they think they are doing? In Consumer Democracy: The Marketing of Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Strömbäck, Jesper, Christina Grandien, and Kajsa Falasca. (2013). "Do campaign strategies and tactics matter? Exploring party elite perceptions of what matters when explaining election outcomes." Journal of Public Affairs no. 12 (1):41-52.

Svallfors, Stefan. (2016). "Out of the Golden Cage: PR and the Career Opportunities of Policy Professionals." Politics & Policy no. 44 (1):56-73.

Practitioner literature

Gould, Philip (1998). The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party. Little Brown.

Gould, Philip (2002). Labour Strategy. In J. Bartle, S. Atkinson and R. Mortimore (Eds.), Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 2001. Frank Cass.

Gould, Philip (2011). The Unfinished Revolution: How New labour changed British Politics Forever.Abacus, London

Langmaid Roy, Charles Trevail and B Hayman, paper on Reconnecting the Prime Minister

Langmaid Roy, Charles Trevail and B Hayman (2006). Reconnecting the Prime Minister. Paper presented atthe Annual conference of the Market Research Society, London - discussion of the work and link to download on

Lavigne, Brad, Building the Orange Wave, depicts how the social democratic NDP embraced modern political marketing techniques to transformed itself from a party with less than 10% of the national vote to a “viable alternative to form the country’s government.”

Moon, Nick (1999). Opinion polls: History, theory and practice. Manchester University Press.

Morris, Dick (1998).) Behind the Oval Office: Getting Re-elected Against All Odds. Renaissance Books.

Pack, Mark (2016) ‘Lessons for political marketing from 2015’ Chapter 9 in Political Marketing and the 2015 UK General Election edited by Darren G. Lilleker and Mark Pack (Palgrave Macmillan)

Penn, Mark with E. Kinney Zalesne (2007). Micro-Trends: The small forces behind tomorrow's big changes. Twelve, Hatchett Book Group, USA.

Shrum, Robert (2007). No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster.

Sparrow, N. and Turner, J. (2001). The integrating of market research techniques in developing strategies in a more uncertain political climate. European Journal of Marketing, vol. 35(9/10): 984-1002.

Stephanopoulos, George (1999). All Too Human: A Political Education. Little Brown.

Trippi, Joe (2004). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised:  Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. New York, N.Y.: Regan Books.



Presentations by practitioners

Mark Penn US consultant lecture on segmentation and targeting – Authors@google: Mark Penn - Mark Penn speaks at Google about his book "Microtrends" on October 1, 2007. This event took place at Google's Mountain View, CA, headquarters as part of the Authors@Google series – one hour

Australian advisor Nick Reece - Reece, Nick (2010) Nick Reece on Labor’s Campaign Backdrop Melbourne PressClub AU., (youtube). Available at: (Accessed 4 February, 2012). Reece is a former director of strategy for Australian PM Julia Gillard. See also

Interviews with consultants

"In the Charlie Rose Greenroom: Mark Penn" Nov 26 2007, 3:44

Penn on polling - a powerful pollster [6.5m]

"Charlie Rose: David Axelrod" April 4 2008, 3:51

"Charlie Rose Greenroom: Alastair Campbell" Feb 22 2008, 7:22

"In the Spin Room: Obama Campaign Manager David Axelrod" Feb 22 2008, 4:46

"I interview Barack Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod" Jan 25 2008, 2:46

"Morning Joe: David Axelrod, Chief Obama Strategist 09/19/08" (MSNBC) 7:25

"Thomas Gensemer Tells Us How He Manages Marketing For Political Campaigns" Oct 2 2009, 3:19  

"Obama's Home Stretch Strategy: Keith Olbermann and David Axelrod" Oct 23 2008, 6:43

John Utting, UMR pollster, talking about where Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister, went wrong and polling


The work of pollsters - media clip into what they do TVNZ’s behind the scenes in the election series in the 2014 NZ election

Importance of market research in politics – NZ Prime Minister John Key gives out a shout out to his pollster David Farrarr in his victory speech on election night after winning a third term in government – see precise clip at 6.27-6.51 -

Media piece on US President Obama's advisors

Discussion of consultants working across countries

Discussion of influence of market researcher, value of focus groups and need to adapt to UK culture - BBC Daily Politics – great discussion of the value of focus groups in showing how voters might react to the new leader – consultant Frank Luntz who researched UK politician David Cameron before he became party leader and PM - on - July, 8 2014 - 6:37 -

The Axe Files

The Axe FilesThe University of Chicago Institute of Politics & CNN - A series of audio interviews by David Axelrod with various key figures in the political world.


Canadian 2015 Election

Justin Trudeau’s Winning CampaignMarketing Magazine Canada (November 2015) – Article focusing on the successes and effectiveness of Trudeau’s political advertising campaigns in the 2015 Canadian election, with a particular focus on the campaign consultants that made it happen.

The ad agency behind Trudeau’s winning campaignThe Globe and Mail (October 2015) – Article discussing the ad agency that created the political advertisements used by the Trudeau campaign in 2015 – with a particular focus on the individual staff, and the advertisements themselves.

Harper hires infamous Aussie spin doctorNational Observer (September 2015) – Brief article discussing Harper’s hiring of Lyton Crosby to assist with their 2015 election campaign. Also highlights some of Crosby’s past endeavors.

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