The 2006 Local Election Candidate Survey, conducted by Dr Mary Shears, was the first national survey to be sent to both councillors and candidates. Prior to this, very little was known about candidates standing for local elections.
The main aim was to ask local candidates about their reasons for standing for local council elections and their personal opinions about the experience. Being asked to stand was found to be very important with 58% of respondents indicating so.
Some other findings from the survey on candidates reasons for standing include:
- Almost two-thirds of respondents cited belonging to a political party and wishing to support that party was the principal motive for candidacy
- Alongside an individual’s decision to stand for election, the strong support from party members, family and friends was clearly important for candidates
During the campaign, traditional paper leaflets continue to be the most widespread method used by candidates to inform residents about themselves, their parties and their policies.
A high percentage of candidates enjoyed campaigning, some 83%.
Of those who stood as a paper candidate, many commented that they had actively helped in more winnable seats for their party, indicating teamwork and a local party strategy.