New in politics

New in Politics [Ny i politiken] is a research project at Linköping University, led by Gissur Ó. Erlingsson and Richard Öhrvall. The main data material is based on a survey targeting candidates in the 2014 elections to municipal councils in a sample of 30 Swedish municipalities. Thereby we study both those who ran for a seat for the first time and those who had previous experience of of being a councillor. We will send mulitiple questionnaires to this sample up until and after the 2018 elections. This approach will help us to better understand why some politicians choose to leave their seats before the end of their term.

This panel design of the study makes it possible to get more precise estimates of changes over time. Many previous studies have relied on respondents’ recollections of their hopes and expectations beofre they went into politics and compared those to current perceptions. Since we have conducted a survey wave before the beginning of the political term, we can measure expectations. This is to be preferred to measure based on recollections at a later time, which can be affected by different types biases, intentionally or unintentionally.

The first three survey waves within the project have been funded by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL). They have also funded two brief reports (in Swedish): Att ta plats i politiken. Om engagemang, aktivism och villkor i kommunpolitiken and Fullmäktigeledamoten och mandatperioden. More reports are to be expected within the project, including articles that hopefully will be published in international, scientific journals.