For the politicians – and pundits who watch their every move – the run up to the General Election has been all encompassing and frantic, filled with twists and u-turns. The people standing for parliament like to think their every sound bite cuts through – but the reality is quite different.
A third of people can remember nothing at all about the general election so far, according to a poll released to i yesterday.
YouGov asked 1,006 respondents to name their most memorable moment from the political campaign so far.
The number one response?
“Don’t know”, which was said 91 times – closely followed by “nothing” (81), “none” (80) and “sjdfsif” or its equivalent. A flurry of “can’t remembers”, “not applicables”, “not sures” and the like brings the total number of people who couldn’t name a single moment close to a third of all respondents.
The polling was carried out between May 19-23 on 1,006 people from London – so nothing after that, such as Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise attendance at the debate, is included. The results were not released until now because of the Manchester attack.
What does this tell us?
Professor Philip Cowley, the director of the Mile End Institute which carried out the research, said the results showed that a significant part of the population aren’t reached or affected by political campaigning.
“A lot of what we think is important doesn’t cut through.”
Professor Philip Cowley, director of the Mile End Institute
“It’s a useful reminder for politicians, and for journalists and academics like me who are really interested in elections, that a lot of what we think is important doesn’t cut through,” he told i.
“This isn’t groundbreaking, but it is definitely worth remembering when talking about elections and politics in general.”
The results also show people tended to remember positive things about Labour’s campaign and negative things about the Conservative’s.
“This shouldn’t be seen as representative of the whole country as the sample is Labour-leaning London,” said Professor Cowley.
“It is, however, interesting that, with a couple of exceptions, most memorable moments about Labour were favourable while most of the Conservatives were negative.”
Here are some other takeaways from the survey.
Corbyn was mentioned 56 times, and nine of these mentions were negative. Five of the negative mentions were about his refusal to take part in the debate, which he did attend in the end.
Theresa May was mentioned 163 times – suggesting that the presidential style campaign the Tories used at the beginning of the campaign made an impact. However, of these mentions only 14 were neutral or positive.
Tim Farron was mentioned twice. One of these was about him being questioned about his view on homesexuality. The other was…
My friend Joss photobombing a Tim Farron video
Of the 88 mentions of the Labour manifesto, six were negative. The rest were positive or a comment on the leak.
Of the 18 mentions of the Conservative manifesto, 12 were negative. The dementia tax was mentioned 29 times (although not always by name) and was always cast in a negative light.
Most memorable moments
Some moments from the campaign did make an impact on voters, although a lot of these were moments that politicians probably wish people would forget.
Diane Abbott’s interview on LBC, which was mentioned 104 times, was the most memorable moment.
The refusal of both leaders to debate cut through. It was mentioned 67 times.
Theresa May’s “strong and stable” mantra was mentioned 19 times. Eleven of these mentions were in relation to the phrase becoming hackneyed.
Theresa May being confronted by a woman with learning difficulties over the loss of her disability benefits was mentioned 15 times.
Jeremy Corbyn’s car running over a BBC reporter was mentioned nine times.
The full list of responses can be seen here.