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Modern election campaigns - Campaigns and their importance

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Modern election campaigns Campaigns and their importance Until the last 3 decades voting was much more predictable than it is now. Voters tended to have traditional allegiance. They were unlikely to be strongly influenced by the election campaign, unless they are "floating voters", these voters especially those living in marginal constituencies. These floating voters determined the outcome and parties were keen to identify and target them with their message. Today voting behaviour is more volatile, so in theory more votes are "up for grabs". David Denver's analysis of the 1992 election showed that at the beginning of the campaign only 63% of the voters had definitely made up their mind, 21% made up their mind in the last week and 8% on the last day. ...read more.


Appealing to a mass audience Television has changed the way in which modern election campaigns are conducted. It is the most obvious way that parties can try to influence the voters. With TV, a candidate can address millions of voters in one appearance. Elections have been increasingly dominated by TV since coverage began in 1859. Since then it has come to dictate the form and style of electioneering, as well as having a large influence over the agenda for discussion. TV producers now have the power to focus on issues, which they believe are interesting or controversial. Sometimes politicians come to resent this, in the first week 1997 election campaign; Conservative speakers were frustrated at their inability to get their positive message across. ...read more.


Sound bites Advisers know how to make sure that the media report stories in the way that they desire. One way of doing so is to include sound bites in speeches. These are short, snappy phrases that can yield a good headline. Tony Blair is well know for his compact catch phrase on crime when he was opposition leader: "Tough in crime, tough on the causes of crime", a sound bite that summarised his position on law and order. Spin and spin-doctors Spin-doctors are able to use several techniques to put the government's spin or angle on the news, so that the story receives a favourable response. This is nothing new, for those in power have always wanted to put gloss on events to present them in the best possible light, but this has now become one of the political arts. ...read more.

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