This article explores the prospects of American influence on electioneering worldwide. Its starting point is US campaigns themselves and, through an examination of trade literature, it focuses on campaigning knowledge and the ideas which underpin US campaigning strategies. This approach suggests that `professionalization', commonly regarded as the hallmark of US-style campaigns, is problematic and has been overestimated. US campaigning knowledge remains dominated by `political folk wisdom'. US campaigning is an evolving business, with some fledgling signs of professionalism, but what it now represents is the commercial rather than professional paradigm. This helps us to understand why US influence abroad may be limited, because the less `professional' the knowledge, the less likely it is to transcend the specifics of the US situation. However, it also helps identify practices, stemming mainly from marketing, where US practice shows signs of professionalism and is more likely to be influential
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