Viewer attitudes to television coverage of the 2005 General Election

09 September 2005

09 September 2005

Ofcom has today published the findings of research into the views of the general public on television coverage of the 2005 General Election.

Key findings include:

  • Four-fifths of respondents said that television was their main source of information on political issues during the Election. Just over half of respondents felt that television channels as a whole devoted the right amount of time to General Election coverage. However, four in ten felt there was too much.
  • Respondents reported that television broadcasts explained issues either quite well (55%) or very well (14%), and the majority believed that news coverage of the General Election was fair, accurate, balanced, informative and impartial.
  • Just over half (54%) believed that political parties should continue to be prevented from buying television advertising airtime, but 38% believed this should be allowed either instead of, or as well as, PEBs.

The full research report is available from the Ofcom website - see Related Items.

The research was commissioned by Ofcom in order to understand the attitudes of viewers and voters to television coverage of the 2005 General Election.

Analysis of the quality and effectiveness of coverage form a valuable part of Ofcom's assessment of the delivery of Public Service Broadcasting, whilst analysis of findings about impartiality inform Ofcom’s work in broadcasting standards.

The research on Party Election Broadcasts will be considered when Ofcom comes to review the rules on party political broadcasting, to be undertaken after the findings of a Government consultation on the subject are published.

Note: Ofcom commissioned ICM Research to carry out the research study into views of the general public towards General Election broadcasting on television. ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,438 people aged 18 years and over by telephone on the pre-Election survey (undertaken during 6-12 April 2005), and 1,433 on the post-Election survey (undertaken during 6-16 May 2005).