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Faltering before the finishing line: The Conservative Party's performance in the 2010 general election

Dorey, Peter 2010. Faltering before the finishing line: The Conservative Party's performance in the 2010 general election. British Politics 5 (4) , pp. 402-435. 10.1057/bp.2010.21

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It has often been said that ‘oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them’, and this aphorism seemed particularly apposite in May 2010. Labour suffered an almost inevitable defeat, but the Conservatives failed to win an overall parliamentary majority, in spite of ostensibly propitious objective economic and political circumstances. The main problems were that the Conservative Party, in spite of David Cameron's best efforts, had still not convinced enough voters that it had sufficiently and genuinely changed since the 1980s and 1990s, and also that its lead over Labour on key policy issues was not consistent or extensive enough. Also, the Conservatives struggled to articulate a clear and positive political narrative, with the theme of the ‘big society’ failing to enthuse voters. Many voters disliked, or were disillusioned, with Labour and Gordon Brown, but this did not translate into widespread enthusiasm for the Conservatives, whose tally of parliamentary seats belied the fact that they only increased their share of the vote by 3 per cent from 2005. Moreover, the 36 per cent that they attracted was still 7–8 per cent less than the 43–44 per cent that the Conservative Party had polled in the 1980s.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: modernisation; issue salience; competence; trust; leadership; public expenditure
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1746-918X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:57

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