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The media has a significant impact on voting behaviour. Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

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Introduction

‘The media has a significant impact on voting behaviour.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks] Overall, the extent of the media’s influence on voting behaviour is limited. Historically, media endorsements were beneficial to certain parties and politicians, as evident in the 1992 General Election through the Sun’s endorsement of the Conservative Party. Furthermore, media coverage can negatively affect a party’s performance, shown through reports of antisemitism in the Labour Party in 2019, leading to an historic loss. However, other factors are more decisive in determining election results and voting behaviour, such as rational choice and demographics. This has been more heavily evident in recent elections since 2015. This essay will argue that the media have a relatively limited influence on voting behaviour in comparison to other factors. Firstly, it can be argued that the media’s impact can be seen through endorsements. Whilst broadcast media in the UK must remain neutral, the press can express their political opinion, with papers like the Sun and the Telegraph supporting the Conservatives, and the Guardian and the Mirror supporting Labour. ...read more.

Middle

This led to an increase in votes for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who was viewed more favourable by the media as a leader for young people’s concerns, such as student loans and housing. Had the media played a limited role in general elections, the Conservative’s loss, if a loss at all, would have been far smaller, but media coverage of the Conservatives’ campaign was negative. Furthermore, a notorious TV debate in which every part leader was present except for Theresa May played heavily against the Conservatives, as May was seen by many to not care about the campaign. Therefore, several factors within the media had a role in shaping the image of Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, and so credit can be given to the media’s role in determining voting behaviour. However, the influence of the media is limited when taken in parallel to other factors that affect the way in which people vote. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows the importance of age in determining how people vote, which can feed into several factors. Older people are more likely to vote Conservative due to their prioritisation of making small meaningful changes, rather than Labour’s radical and vast changes that are promised at general elections. Additionally, people’s ethnicity explains voting behaviour, with 65% of non-white voters preferring the Labour Party in the 2017 general election. This demonstrates a departure from the influence of the print media having prevalence in the 1990s, with demographic factors now determining voting behaviour in the 21st century. Therefore, the influence of the media when considering other factors is limited. To conclude, the media does play a role in determining voting behaviour, such as portraying the party leader and through newspaper endorsements. However, this role is limited when considering other factors, such as age, ethnicity, and rational choice; these factors are where voting behaviour is mostly determined in the 21st century. Therefore, the media’s influence on voting behaviour is limited. ...read more.

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