Opposition Parties: Mapping your competitors and staying ahead of the curve
Mapping the political competition is kind of a campaign cliche: of course, every party manager and politician wants to stay ahead of their political opponents during and outside of campaigns.
But the way party managers, and especially politicians try to identify their actual competitors can easily go astray. In a multi-party political system, parties in opposition tend to make two common mistakes when planning their strategy.
One is when party strategists ‘self-evidently’ focus on the governing party as their one and only competitor in a general election. That might not always be the best scenario, especially if there are several viable parties running in the election, as the governing party’s voters are possibly the farthest from you on an ideological scale. If you only focus on the governing party — maybe simply as a result of your emotions rather than a clear-headed strategy –, you miss focusing on the voters closest to you: voters of other opposition parties who are close to you on the ideological scope.