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7 May 2015

The knives are out in closing days of election campaign

Press partisanship returned with a vengeance in the closing days of the 2015 General Election campaign, research by Loughborough University has found.

Since the start of the campaign academics at Loughborough have been conducting a weekly real time news audit, lifting the lid on what media coverage the parties, their policies, MPs and their partners are securing.

Their results show extensive negative coverage of Labour, with coverage of SNP also become appreciably more negative in the final stages of the campaign.  Levels of positive coverage for the Conservatives have remained stable.

Professor David Deacon, one of the research leaders explains: “It’s a knife edge election, so there’s no surprise that the knives are out. Press partisanship has returned with a vengeance in this campaign.

“The significance of our findings is not so much in revealing the direction of partisanship but in measuring the scale of it and its changing focus.

“As elections are no longer two horse races, negative and positive coverage potentially becomes more dispersed.

“Our results show that in the final days of the election, the SNP seems to have attracted some of the negative coverage that Labour experienced most acutely in the previous sample week.”

The team’s full research findings and methodology can be viewed here.

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 15/78

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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