Viewers and Voters: Attitudes to television coverage of the 2005 General Election

09 September 2005

The General Election of 2005 took place against a backdrop of declining levels of political interest and participation in politics across the board.

Turnout in the preceding General Election of 2001 had dipped to a record low of 59%, political party memberships had dropped significantly in the meantime, and a general antipathy toward politicians and political processes has been generally observed by opinion pollsters and academics alike.

The Local Authority and European Parliament elections of 2004 suggested that the turnout ‘floor’ had been reached, even if the introduction of all-postal pilot schemes for voting was the mechanism for reacquainting some voters with the democratic process. As such, the 2005 General Election was eagerly anticipated by electoral administrators and political commentators alike. The contribution of the media to perceptions of campaign and the extent to which politics on television contributed to any developments in turnout was also of interest.

In March 2005 Ofcom commissioned ICM Research, an independent research agency, to undertake a programme of research that identified the views of the general public toward 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), and 1,433 on the post-Election survey (undertaken during 6-16 May).

Full report

Viewers and Voters: Attitudes to television coverage of the 2005 General Election (PDF, 216.2 KB)
Research Study conducted by ICM Research on behalf of Ofcom
Updated 15 Sep 05