case studies elections

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  • Case studies of elections
    • 1979 election
      • In 1979, Maggie Thatcher's party won the election, winning a small majority of 43 which increased in latter elections
      • Election results can be explained by factors such as the party policies and manifesto, political context and the campaign ran by both parties
      • Result of election
        • -A key reason for the conservative success was the Labour party's weakness, which had lost a vote of no confidence and had been regularly defeated in parliament
        • Callaghan was also seen as unfit to control trade unions, who had been striking following attempts to impose a 5% limit on pay increases in the early 1979
          • His government was also not addressing why there was social breakdown all across the UK.
        • Country was recovering from "winter of discontent".
      • 1979 Election campaign
        • Margaret Thatcher used publicity specialists Tim Bell and Gordon Reece in her campaign and had a number of photo opportunities that she took advantage of
        • Conservatives put pressure on Labour party over the "winter of discontent"
        • Jim Callaghan did better than Thatcher in opinion polls and had  thought to have more political experience
      • Party Policies
        • Both conservative and Labour party manifestos were moderate and both parties prioritised reducing inflation
        • Thatcher mentioned privatising recently nationalised  industries and reducing influence of trade unions, but did not outline to which extent.
    • 1997 Election
      • In 1997, Blair won and was elected with 418 seats and labour remained in power until 2010
      • Election Result:Political context
        • The conservatives were unpopular after John Major's government's failings from the previous 5 years and only won 30% of the vote
        • The conservative were viewed as weak on economic policy because of "black wednesday" in 1992
        • Despite economic improvement since then, many voters had not felt the benefits of the recovery through more investment in public service or tax cuts
        • Conservatives were involved in a number of sexual and financial scandals which weakened their appeal.
      • Election result:campaign
        • Labour used public relations experts to handle the media and used focus groups in order to understand the public best
        • Campaign involved targeting marginal seats, which only required a small swing to change
        • Election result:Party Policies
          • Tony Blair's new government had a modernise policies and had strayed from traditional labour policies of increasing taxes, strengthening trade unions and nationalization.
            • New Labour was stricter on law and order and Blair emphasized on links to business
            • Labour emphasised itself as a moderate party that appealed to Middle England
            • Labour's constitutional reform policy appealed to liberal democrat voters who supported libdems however did not have chances of winning
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    • In 2010, conservatives were the biggest party with 306 seats-had to form coalition
      • Result:Political context
        • Election followed 2008 finanncial crisis which took place whilst Gordon Brown was prime minister and gave conservatives ammunition to attack labour policies
        • Brown was unpopular for not calling an election when he took over from Tony Blair
          • Voters trusted conservatives more with economy
      • Result:Election Campaign
        • Television debates were held with the three major candidates, Brown, Clegg and Cameron
        • Clegg perforned particularly well and saw an increase in opinion polls, whilst Brown's popularity decreased
        • Conservatives targeted marginal seats whilst labour had weak campaign.
          • Gordon Brown was heard calling a voter "bigoted woman" after asking about immigration.
      • Result:Party Policies
        • Main parties all focused on policies to reduce budget deficit and making savings
          • Conservatives staed need for immediate cuts
        • Conservatives target labour economic policy in government, which they said included overspending and failing to regulate bank system
          • Popular belief shared amongst voters
    • 2010 election

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