No excitement please, we're British – The problem with this endless election

20 Mar 2015

 If either the Tories or the Labour party can have any hope of breaking out of the deadlock which has materialised in opinion polls for some months now, then it is high time that they begin to enthuse those swing voters who are likely to determine the outcome of the general election – now less than 50 days away.  

 

A recent YouGov poll exclusively for Red Box established that when asked the question: ‘how interesting, if at all, have you found what the main political parties have been saying about the coming general election over the past few weeks’, that Conservative supporters were the most engaged (49% found it interesting) as opposed to 24% for the Greens and 22% for UKIP (see table below).

 

The figures for the SNP, Greens and UKIP are worrying news for the two main political parties, for this suggests that these potential swing voters are hardly listening to the messages and slogans that they routinely deploy in a bid to recapture their support.

 

The Conservatives, especially, seem to be in a Catch-22 position. On the one hand, they are advised by their campaign chief, Lynton Crosby, that the route to election success lies in a relentless focus on the economy and with this, the repetition of a key slogans such as: ‘our long-term economic plan’. Yet, on the other hand, such relentless repetition proves boring to voters who are already tired of the over-extended election campaign; a result of the ill-thought out Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (2011).  

 

Moreover, with a few key issues dominating the campaign, it is little surprise that a shadow cabinet minister told The Sunday Times yesterday that "[the election campaign] is as flat as a pancake on all sides … you struggle to find anything to get excited about". How, then, can the main parties inject some excitement into the campaign, which formally begins on 30 March?

 

Surely, an agreement to hold the much-debated TV debates would be one way to help increase the level of engagement amongst the electorate. After all, a staggering "22m viewers […] watched the three debates last time" according to Adam Boulton of Sky News. Alas, though, a recurrence of these debates looks less and less likely with every passing day.

 

Where’s Boris when you need him…?

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