Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
3 May 2017updated 06 May 2017 1:10pm

There is one place where Labour’s campaign is strong: radio

Labour's poll share has increased since the election was called. A brief listen to the radio helps to explain why. 

By Stephen Bush

Jim Messina, a campaign strategist from both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and the Tory victory in 2015, is fond of saying that most voters only think about politics for four minutes a week. Elections are won and lost in the news that people can’t escape – the beginning of the six o’clock or the ten o’clock news, before people switch off or switch over. The few minutes of news at the top of the hour on music radio. The images playing on muted televisions at pubs throughout the country.

Once you understand that, that helps to explain why Labour have gone up in the polls since the election was announced. Although there has been plenty in their campaign for politicos to criticise – Diane Abbott, usually the most reliable performer from the leadership’s loyalist wing, had a nightmare interview in which she struggled to explain how Labour’s promise to get more police on the beat would be paid for – their message to Britain’s swing voters has been consistent and strong.

Every morning and every evening since the election started, listeners on music radio have heard a similar theme – Labour will do something nice for you, whether that be reversing the cuts to health spending or putting more police on the beat. As for the Conservatives? Well, they’ve attacked Labour for one thing or another. It’s not altogether surprising that the result is an increase in Labour’s poll share. 

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Content from our partners
Why ports are the gateway to growth
We are living longer than our predecessors – policy must catch up
Getting Britain building