In 2005 the social class divide was weaker than ever. The conservatives had the most of the share of A/B vote was down to 9% (it was 32% in 1992), though the A/B and C1s still remain a key part of the conservative vote. Even in a year where it hadn’t done well in comparison to the last two elections, New Labour was still able to get 28% of the A/B vote. Although it was very much behind the conservatives in the C1s it was well ahead among the C2s and D/Es.
Voters see the success of the economy in terms of the level of mortgage interest and inflation, and people are more likely to vote for a government which makes them feel good about the state of the economy, this was shown to be true in the 2001 election. The party leader is also a factor as Tony Blair proved in 1997 a good campaign and whiter than white image can be extremely beneficial to your election result. The Iraq war and loans for peerages scandal seriously affected his image and made voters seriously doubt his previous trustworthy and honest nature.
The media has a big part to play in the election as they are the main outlet for the parties to get their message across. The broadcasting media is not bias and airs the party political broadcasts in which the leader directly addresses the public as to why you should vote for them. In Tony Blair’s party political broadcast he was trying to gain the public’s vote by using a slick modern style with soundbites such as ‘education, education, education’ and ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’, logo and theme music.
Parties will always want the photo opportunity to show the public that they are honest, trustworthy and respectable, this is why they are often seen with children, at schools, hospitals etc to boost their credibility amongst voters. The press often play a role in the elections as they break out any political issues and sleaze and can portray one side as better than the other as they are often bias. In 1992 the majority of newspapers backed the conservatives, 7 backed them compared to just 2 for Labour by 2005 this had changed to 2 newspapers backing the conservatives and 8 supporting Labour.
Newspapers provide people with a bias opinion of policies which some voters then use to form an inaccurate account of the party. Media influence can steer people to vote for a particular party, this combined with opinion polls can create a bandwagon effect and influence people to vote differently. Overall people are more likely to take short term factors into account as they are not aligned to a particular political group, people are more likely to move from the main parties to 3rd parties because of this the electorate has become more volatile and unpredictable.
When people vote they will take into account things like opinion polls, press and media coverage and sometimes end up with an inaccurate account of parties because of this many people vote differently than they would have done without these factors. Places like France ban opinion polls during the campaigns as it influences the vote. People in modern times vote for people more and more on the basis of short term factors.