The Sun refuses to back the Tories, says ‘Vote local’ (Aka: The Sun hedges its bets)

The Sun_Kinnock_1992Does what The Sun says matter?

In its own terms, of course not. Its own self-promoted myth that it was ‘The Sun wot won it’ for the Tories in 1992 with its anti-Kinnock front page belies the reality: it backs the party it thinks is most likely to win.

It’s in that narrow sense that it’s interesting The Sun has declined to back either the Tories or Labour today for the first time in its 44-year history:

Who you choose today must be a local decision, not a national one. Read the leaflets. Listen to what all the actual candidates are telling you, and judge them individually. Did they deliver on their 2009 promises? Have they the right priorities for the next four years? Let them all win back our faith the hard way. One by one, from the bottom up.

Which, to be fair, is excellent advice. To put it another way…

The Sun (and by extension, its owner Rupert Murdoch) is hedging its bets. It’s not leading public opinion; it’s waiting to find out from the voters who they think it should endorse.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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7 Comments

  • How I am to cope in a world where the Sun thinks an issue isn’t simply binary? Have those great sages list their touch?

  • *lost. Damn my error.

  • Daniel Henry 2nd May '13 - 11:51am

    The editor of the u certainly didn’t see it coming!
    I bet they feel quite silly about that last paragraph now! 😉
    http://www.independent.co.uk/i/editor/i-editors-letter-why-dont-people-vote-8599884.html

  • Daniel Henry 2nd May '13 - 11:51am

    ahem… *i

    Looks like we’re all erroring on this thread today! :s

  • Possibly more significant is the Sun’s talk of the “big four” parties. They’re clearly now including UKIP in this, and to me this suggests that they’re paving the way for a possible future endorsement – maybe trying to create a Tory / UKIP coalition next time round (which would almost certainly switch my vote in the independence referendum – the only thing worse than that would be dictatorship!)

  • Geoffrey Payne 2nd May '13 - 12:35pm

    I can’t help thinking that the Sun does influence how people vote. The campaign of stigmatisation of benefit claimants has notably changed attitudes over the past 5 years. Their campaign of vitriol against Nick Clegg during the last general election campaign seemed to work as well in the final days.
    Once their opinions have been have been made familiar to their readers,it doesn’t really matter that much which way the recommend voting.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd May '13 - 3:03pm

    Stephen Tall

    It’s in that narrow sense that it’s interesting The Sun has declined to back either the Tories or Labour today for the first time in its 44-year history:

    Can you confirm that really is the case for all local elections?

    I saw some figures once which suggested readership of the Sun was not just one of but THE most significant factor correlating with voting behaviour once social class had been balanced out. Of course, one has to consider cause and effect i.e. is it that working-class Tories are more likely to read the Sun rather than the Sun turning people into Tories.

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