Rewind back to April and experts were lining up to dismiss anything other than a large Conservative majority. Yet as the results trickled in this morning, the exit polls, which predicted a surprise hung parliament, were validated, with Labour gaining 31 seats for a total of 261, and the Conservatives losing 12, putting their total at 318.
The Conservatives are planning to cobble together a government through a partnership with Northern Ireland’s the Democrat Unionist Party that would push them over the 326-seat line. But the General Election 2017 result has given the left a much-needed boost as well as destroying May’s hopes of “crushing the saboteurs” as one national newspaper infamously put it.
Targeting young voters
It has also added authenticity to Labour’s decision to focus on the younger generation through platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. According to initial reports, Britain’s youth turned out in record numbers, with up to 75% of 18-to-24 year-olds voting; a whopping 66% of this group is thought to have voted Labour, according to the National Union of Students.
“This election highlights more than ever the generational gap between the young, who tend to vote Labour, and the old who continue to vote Conservative,” says Cranfield University’s political marketing professor Paul Baines.
Andre van Loon, research and insight director at We Are Social, says Labour’s “successful” campaign did so well with young voters as it prioritised brand advocacy and authenticity.
He adds: “By making Corbyn so prominent on social media, it created brand advocates from Grime stars to young people. Looking through earned conversations, there are generally a lot more younger people sharing pictures of Jeremy Corbyn on Instagram.
“If you look at his Instagram profile, there’s a few quirky posts, someone knitted a doll of him that he then holds up next to his face. He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself and that made Theresa May look robotic and like she didn’t have a sense of humour in comparison.”
Where the Conservatives went wrong
Ian Twinn, the London chairman of the Conservative Party, admits his party’s campaign “failed” because Theresa May tried to force her authority on the British public.
“I am old enough to remember Edward Heath, the Conservative prime minister who called a General Election in 1974 to obtain a mandate to face down the miners’ wage demands. Labour won back then and they’ve shocked us again 43 years later. Is it a good idea to force the public to reinforce your own views? Probably not.”
By making Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable leadership’ the centerpiece of the campaign, the Conservatives had a message that did not work at a local level either….