Labour ruling out ‘negative’ election campaign posters indicates an underlying problem for Labour

Labour ruling out ‘negative’ election campaign posters indicates an underlying problem for Labour

The Observer is reporting that

Labour has scrapped all plans to run billboard posters of David Cameron during the general election campaign in what it says it is a deliberate attempt to avoid “negative personalised adverts” and raise the tone of debate.

But the most interesting excerpt from the article is this bit

The Observer understands that Labour’s effort to occupy the moral high ground has also been driven by financial necessity, as it struggles to raise sufficient funds from the unions and other sources to fight the election campaign with all the firepower it needs. Paying for billboard spaces has been one of the major outlays for political parties in recent elections.

So if Labour is struggling financially, in light of the current polling, which appears to place the parties neck and neck, every campaign trick and advantage becomes critical, especially in the marginals. Add in Labour are having to concentrate their resources in Scotland where they had forty one seats which were previously considered safe, it becomes obvious the problems this might cause for Labour as the Tories are reportedly going to outspend Labour 3:1 in this election campaign.

I also expected if Labour hoped to reduce/overhaul David Cameron’s lead over Ed Miliband on the leadership front, they would have to go very negative, and posters would be one of the main ways to do so. If Cameron can maintain his lead between now and election day (or even widen his lead), then that might also have an impact on the election result.

In the last forty years, the most successful posters, in my opinion, were the ones that were negative, such as the Labour isn’t working poster from 1979,  the Tory poster warning about Labour’s Double Whammy in 1992 or Labour’s poster warning of the Tory Economic Disaster II in 2001.

But before Tory supporters get too excited, and Labour supporters get too despondent, in the 2010 General Election campaign, the Tories outspent Labour two to one, but the superior Tory resources didn’t result in a Tory majority.


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