TV, Social Media and Family ‘Most Influential’ on Voting Intention – New Poll  

Wednesday 06 May, 2015

LONDON – TV, social media and family have had the most influence on people’s voting intentions, according to the final pre-election polling published by Weber Shandwick and Research Now today.

A representative sample of over a 1,000 voters found that social media had a clear influence on views, while traditional, old-school political campaigning techniques lag some way behind in their ability to engage with voters and shape their views.

Polling was conducted in two waves and today’s figures put that fieldwork together to build up a picture of the impact of the GE2015 campaign on the public.

The new data forms part of the unique Weber Shandwick/Research Now ‘Election Engagement Index’, launched last month, which analyses the extent to which different political communications techniques get people’s attention and whether or not they go on to influence popular thinking.

The new research shows that TV programmes and debates got the attention of 56%, with the same figure applying to conversations with friends and family. Press articles attracted the attention of 44%, conversations with colleagues 35% and radio programmes and phone-ins 34%.

Least effective were telephone campaigns by the parties at 11%, which got less attention than conversations with pub landlords and taxi drivers at 15%.

In terms of influence, TV came out top at 47%, social media second at 40%, followed by friends and family at 37%. Press, radio and work colleagues were each ranked influential by 32%. Least influential were window posters and garden stakes at 9%, and outdoor advertising at 11%.

Weber Shandwick Chairman of Corporate, Financial and Public Affairs, Jon McLeod, said:

“When it comes to voting intentions, it seems that home is where the political heart is. People consistently pay attention to and are influenced by TV and their friends and families. This traditional model of political influence has been ignored by the Westminster village to its great cost and is a reflection, to some extent, of the loss of popular faith in all parties and the growing cynicism towards politics and the parties.

“The marked influence of social media is also striking – these channels have taken their place among the most trusted forms of communication, leaving conventional politics trailing in their wake in terms of influence.”

Ben Hogg, Managing Director, Portfolio Companies, EMEA, Research Now, said:

“Our research shows that this has been viewed as a campaign of lies, mud-slinging and negativity on the whole, with our respondents stating that parties have spent too much time focusing on the shortcomings of their opponents rather than on the strengths of their own manifestos.  Approximately 24% of those who responded to the open ended question, “Thinking about everything you have seen or heard about the General Election, what was it that grabbed your attention in a positive way?’, claimed that nothing positive had come out of this campaign.”