What is becoming clear in the post-election analysis of the results is that the Conservative Party very successfully created a climate of fear in English marginal seats about the prospect of a Labour / SNP coalition.
Yesterday Labour’s official pollster wrote in an article for the New Statesman that their “focus groups showed the SNP attacks landing” and the SNP-related campaign catalysed “pre-existing doubts about Labour”.
I decided to look for further evidence that the SNP were a significant factor in how people voted and so turned to Google Trends; a free tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume.
As you can see in the chart above, the volumes of traffic relating to the SNP were very significant and grew dramatically the closer we got to the election.
This is a brilliant example of how political advertising can be used to drive an election narrative.
As evidenced above, before the ‘Miliband in Salmond’s pocket’ poster launch, the possibility of a Labour / SNP coalition was a very minor aspect of media coverage (and subsequently search traffic) on the election.
However, after the launch of the provocative poster – and by sustaining it as an issue by releasing a new poster roughly every fortnight – the Conservative Party successfully built it into an issue that ended up being a deciding factor in the election.