Wanted: election campaign breakthrough moment
27 April 2015, Blog
With the General Election campaign in full swing, it seems the only thing we can say with confidence is that the outcome is impossible to predict.
Pollsters provide daily snapshots of public opinion, which all suggest that things are simply too close to call.
The mainstream media organisations have largely assumed their traditional positions, with the majority supporting a Tory-led government. None is predicting a clear winner.
Analysis of the parties’ social media campaigns does not point to one front-runner either. And there remains a distinct lack of engagement with ordinary voters who need to be reached out to if any party is to achieve the swing in support necessary to influence the result on 8 May.
The recent TV debates have perhaps provided the best opportunity for party leaders to connect with ordinary people who may still be undecided in terms of who they vote for.
The first debate was a return to frontline politics for veteran broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, who interviewed Cameron and Miliband and took many of the headlines the next day. Voting intention polling suggested that this first debate had very little impact on the outcome of the election.
On 2 April, ITV gave punters the chance to see Cameron and Miliband share a stage together, alongside the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Part, SNP and UKIP. Seven million people tuned in and most polls stated that Cameron was the winner. The surprise of the night was SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who gave a very impressive performance and received plaudits from viewers.
The third debate was on the BBC, with David Dimbleby in the hot seat, but without any member of the government representing the Conservative or Liberal Democrats. This time, polls suggested Miliband was the viewers’ winner and Farage was slammed as he criticised the BBC audience.
We have one more debate to go on 30 April, and there’s still everything to play for.
At a recent event held at JBP’s offices to launch our guide to the General Election, our Senior Counsel Andrew Cumpsty spoke of the vital moment of connection needed that could still swing the campaign in favour one of the main parties. That breakthrough moment is yet to arrive in this campaign.
Listen to James Turgoose discuss the appeal of the emerging parties on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme (29 minutes in).
By James Lancaster, Account Manager