chapter  1
12 Pages

Introducing marketing research

Politicians look anxiously at the results of political polls, as they indicate the standing of the party in the country and the standing of its leader. They show what issues are most significant to the electorate and which seats are most likely to be marginal at the next election. Focus group politics has reached such an extent that politicians react to the results of polls by putting extra effort into areas of the country that are marginal, i.e. where additional effort to market the attractions of the party are more likely to pay off. When the polls say the leader is unpopular, pressure is put on the leader to change stance so as to become more popular; when negative reaction to a leader is strong and sustained, the party thinks of appointing a new one; which issues to push as the main planks of the party’s electoral platform are also influenced or even determined by the polls. There is no point in strongly pursuing issues about which the electorate is unconcerned – that is not the most effective way to win votes.