How Voters Change: The 1987 British Election Campaign in Perspective


This study highlights the power of governments to manipulate economic expectation and dominate mass media, thereby effecting voter change. Based upon a sequence of five interviews with approximately 1500 voters, this study reveals the nature, extent, and causes of rapid changes of political allegiance. The study begins with an analysis of Margaret Thatcher's third election campaign to restore her government's popularity, and then with the short, official, campaign in May and June 1987, charting day-to-day changes in public opinion and linking them to the changing content of television news. Finally, the authors examine voters' reactions to the electoral process and the election result. Students of British politics, survey methods, and mass media research will find this study provides new insight into the electoral process.

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