Did Glenrothes rip-up the election timing “rule-book”?

Did Glenrothes rip-up the election timing “rule-book”?

Would we be more exposed to TV in a winter election

With all the talk of a 2009 election there’s almost a knee-jerk reaction that it really would have to take place between March and October because elections are pretty hard “to fight in the dark”.

But is that necessarily the case? On the previous thread HenryG Manson noted “..However one broadsheet columnist made an astute point a few weeks ago that Glenrothes showed that Labour can win elections ‘in the dark’. “

When the November 6th date was being mooted people were saying that the turn-out would be right down because of the timing – yet on the day Labour romped home with an increase majority in both its percentage vote share and the actual number of votes. The turnout at 52%.

Glenrothes was, of course, a by election which had the added drama of being in the constituency next to Gordon Brown’s. Large numbers of paid Labour party employees from round the UK were drafted in to provide support and the party’s ground operation was hugely impressive. You couldn’t do that right across the country in a general election – not even in the marginal seats.

    One key factor that would make a winter election very different from a spring or summer one is that we all watch a lot more TV when it’s dark and cold outside. Audiences for news and other programmes are considerably higher which is why the autumn/winer schedules are so important to the broadcasters.

With the election coverage on the news and current affair programmes being so important then Labour might judge that it could be easier getting its message across better at that time of year. Remember that in his former former life Peter Mandelson was a TV executive. Of course we don’t allow paid TV advertising in the UK but we could expect the schedules to be swamped with election-related programmes.

The fact that a change of government might just be on the cards would add greatly to the public interest.

So February 2009, November 2009 and February 2010 have to be judged as possibilities.

Election timing betting is here.

Mike Smithson

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