Two electioneering strategies

David Clark-Carter, Professor of Psychological Research Methods

There appear to be two strategies at play in the electioneering prior to manifestos being published:

Prof David Clark-Carter

  1. Repeat a slogan and try not to say anything about policy.
  2. Announce policies and do the round of interviews.

The danger with the first is that if another party is doing the second then you will seem very light on policy and the media will latch on to anything you do say and try to extrapolate from it.  For example, you might keep saying ‘Strong and stable’ about your own party and ‘chaos’ about another party.  If the media get a hint that you might not put up V.A.T. they will ask about other taxes, which were part of a previous package, and failure to answer can be interpreted as an intention to put those other taxes up.

One consequence of the second strategy, when other parties are adopting the first strategy, is that your policies are the only ones available for comment and so they can fill the available space. This can be an advantage if you make sure they withstand the scrutiny.  However, if the delivery in any way obscures the message then the message can be lost.  I gather that Diane Abbott’s interview on LBC was her seventh.  If someone is being put through such an intense schedule of interviews then I would recommend having memory aids which are very easy to refer to.