Advanced Higher Modern Studies Dissertation Milan, D. Stewart
‘Media is the king when it comes to influencing voting behaviour in recent UK General Elections’
“Voting is as much an emotional act as it is an intellectual one”
Using the hypothesis “Media is the king when it comes to influencing voting behaviour”, this dissertation aims to show that media plays the most important role in determining electoral outcome for parties, focussing primarily on recent UK elections. In investigating this hypothesis we will question whether British voting behaviour is still, arguably, narrow-minded and traditionalist within families and groups in society. Furthermore, how leaders and parties have adapted to the change in voting behaviour to appeal to the majority and ultimately gain them election or re-election.
With the use of secondary and researched knowledge and the use of surveys and field research, we will also look at theories as to why people vote the way they do. Psephologists may argue that voting behaviour paints a picot of current trends and values in our society and that in turn helps us understand our society more effectively. It tells us also about whether our representative democracy is functioning effectively - voting is, after all, a essential element of our democracy - could we improve out democracy by trying to understand the motivations of the electorate? More cynically but just as important, politicians and a variety of other factors want to understand why people vote so they can try and get their person/party into power; change the electoral message to try and accrue the most votes.
To test this hypothesis, I will investigate and analyse the different aspects of voting behaviour and the way these can determine elections. The first aim of this dissertation will look at the view that the ‘media is the king’ when it comes to influencing elections and by doing that it will look at the many different forms of media such as newspapers which, due to the advances in printing and distribution, opened up the prospect of transforming party journals. We will look at the use of TV and radio, including debates, news bulletins, Question Time, such as the Andrew Marr show. Also, the rise and use of social media, that is not only being used by more citizens, but is increasingly deployed by politicians reach a larger proportion of the younger generations.
The second aim will look at the relevance of the Sociological model of theory. This model incorporates a large amount of social factors in voting behaviour, social class, age, ethnicity, religion and age. The importance of the sociological model when it comes to influencing voting behaviour is strong as the core social factors were/can be the root cause of the way people vote. However, due the recent rise the use of the social media, the relevance of the sociological model has decreased.
The third aim of this dissertation will discuss the relevance of the Party Identification model and...