The Tories come under media attack

The Conservative Party has received considerably more negative media coverage in the second half of the General Election campaign, research from Loughborough University has found.

In its third report analysing media coverage of the campaign, the research team found the party coming under substantial attack for its ‘dementia tax’ and the way the issue was handled by Theresa May.It also found the Tory’s had lost control of the issue agenda with health and healthcare – a key Labour policy – becoming the most covered substantive issue.

Figure 4.1: Top 5 Policy Issues in the 2017 Campaign

Figure 4.1: Top 5 Policy Issues in the 2017 Campaign

Although the majority of media coverage for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party has continued to be critical, the gap between negative and positive coverage has diminished in the second half of the campaign, suggesting Labour is gaining momentum with some media.

Speaking about the findings of the team’s final report, co-author Professor John Downey said: “Our research clearly shows that the Conservative Party are losing control of the media war. Not only are Labour’s issues more prominent but the Conservatives and May have received much more criticism. Time will tell if this is merely a wobble or something more serious for Conservative Party fortunes.”

Results in the report are derived from detailed content analysis of weekday news coverage of the General Election, compiled by experts in Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC).This week’s report also revealed:

  • As a general trend, newspapers have focused more coverage on attacking the parties they disapprove of than on reporting positive issues connected to the parties they support. There has been considerable coverage of ‘political gaffes’ and ‘Omni-shambles’ such as policy U-turns and failing to have facts to hand during interviews.
  • In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing defence issues rose greatly in prominence, as did the prominence of Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, and Diane Abbott, her Shadow.


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