Essay: Evaluate the view that election manifestos matter less than media presence in winning elections Flashcards Preview

4. Voting Behaviour and the Media > Essay: Evaluate the view that election manifestos matter less than media presence in winning elections > Flashcards

Flashcards in Essay: Evaluate the view that election manifestos matter less than media presence in winning elections Deck (7)
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1979 election
1997 election
2010 election



P1 – manifesto

  • Thatcher’s manifesto – and the limited mention of privatisation – mitigated Callaghan’s warning of a mass lurch to the right if the Tories won – no real mention of the crusade against the state sector that would take – Thatcher would’ve likely lost votes from working class voters had privatisation been a significant part of the manifesto
  • Thatcher turned down the opportunity to undertake a live debate – didn’t hinder her electoral appeal as no potential PM had ever done one before – media limited in this sense
  • Contained traditional family values – relinquish state role in social housing
  • Pledged to tackle inflation and TUs – stronger than labour party


P2 – media

  • Political events at the time – such as the Winter of Discontent in 1978 – govt decision to impose a limit of 5% on pay increases  riots and strikes – influenced the media as a result
  • Callaghan – series of disastrous interviews w/ the media – asked constantly about the state of the country after the winter of discontent
  • Dismissing questions – particularly in the interview w/ the Sun newspaper in 1979 – alienated the public promoting the newspaper to run the headline ‘Crisis, what crisis?’
  • Thatcher was also endorsed by most newspapers
  • Somewhat limited weight – given that even without the media the disastrous political/economic events at the time still impacted the result – such as inflation and high unemployment
  • Conservative billboard – ‘Labour isn’t working’
  • Thatcher – photo ops – portrayed in media as strong woman
  • Thatcher speeches


P3 – manifesto

  • Labour – rebranded itself as ‘New Labour’ – Blair sought to move the party away from old-fashioned left leaning party policies that included: nationalisation, tax increases, strengthening of trade union power – influenced the middle-class vote (given that labour moved away from left-leaning policies in their manifesto
  • Labour won w/ businesses in 1997 – Blair kindled relationships with the business world, more than Labour had done previously
  • Constitutional reform – gained votes from Lib Dem supporters
  • Somewhat less weight – arguably failures of conservative party instead of a labour success – which influenced the media


P4 – media

  • Labour won the endorsement of the great part of the national press – in stark contrast to 1979 – including the Sun and The Times
  • The portrayal of the Conservative Party by the media – economy recovering from recession inflicted in the earlier part of the decade – voters didn’t credit Tories for recovery – remember ‘black Wednesday’ – Sept 1992
  • Media coverage may have influenced voters – given the ‘Tory sleaze’
  • Major pictured on a soap box – booed in Brixton
  • Cabinet divides – talked about by media
  • Spin doctors


P5 – manifesto

  • Reducing budget deficit main issue – had increased to £163 billion since the crash of 2007-08
  • Conservatives – only party who called for immediate cuts, in 2010 – the other parties stated that this would jeopardise the economic recovery
  • Hug a hoodie
  • Big Society
  • Safeguarding NHS
  • Brown’s manifesto weak – 50% top tax rate – ultimately cost him


P6 – media

  • First TV debates – gave Nick Clegg a boost throughout the campaign – ‘Cleggmania’
  • Brown was presented, by the media, as a dictatorial PM who wielded huge power over his cabinet
  • Conservatives backed by most newspapers
  • Brown Rochdale – ‘bigoted woman’
  • David Cameron – perceived as young new

• Less weight – Clegg’s success in campaign didn’t reflect on polling day – role of TV arguably exaggerated – however – the raising of Clegg’s profile may have helped to dent the Conservatives an independent majority – so had an indirect influence on the outcome