This article seeks to focus and organize the public and academic debate on the ethics of political marketing by soliciting answers in the application of ethical theory. Principal ethical theories of interest to marketing and the particular illumination they lend to political marketing are discussed. Often the answer they yield is ambivalent (not least because ethical propositions can only be argued, never resolved). It is concluded that, although utilitarians and others tip the balance in favor of political marketing practice, the strength of the contractarian critique means there is no closure in this debate. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.