This research in brief explores Canadian political consultants’ practices in political marketing, exploring whether they are, as democratic critiques of marketing often argue, encouraging politics to become poll-driven, and whether they fit into previous international studies on consultants in other countries, especially the United States. Drawing upon qualitative data collected from interviews with key practitioners in Canada and from Canadian news sources, it considers how political consultants utilize market research, communication, and strategy. It also considers the potential impact of the use of political consultants on politicians’ decisions and leadership. It concludes that Canadian political marketing does not fit into an idealistic, realistic, or cynical view of political marketing but is a more complex synthesis and thus the democratic impact is more varied and debatable.

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