With just over two weeks until the Federal Election, politicians are wasting no time inundating our screens, radios and newspapers with messages telling us why they deserve our vote.

According to Roy Morgan, 24 per cent of people still don’t know who they’re going to vote for on election day, leaving a huge opportunity for candidates at polling booths to sway voters at the last minute.

In an election as tight as this one, these last-minute swing voters could get a candidate over the line.

So how do candidates plan to win the votes of this key group?

At the moment, it seems that fear mongering via mainstream media seems to be the most popular choice. Both of the major parties are flooding our screens with advertisements using common negative propaganda techniques, such as:

  • The use of unflattering images of the opposition
  • Repetition of negative words and images
  • Using a deep, male narrated voice
  • Only presenting the viewer with two options
  • Using grainy, black and white images with bold, red words overlayed that slander the opposition

These advertisements are created to make us fearful of a particular outcome. The question is, does this work, or are there more effective avenues to deliver a strong message?

According to Matthew Hingerty, CEO & Managing Director, Barton Deakin, who spoke this week at the PRIA ‘Campaign realities: The eye of the storm’, in a tight election it’s face-to-face, or ‘groundwork’ campaigning that will win those crucial extra votes.

Mr Hingerty drew on examples such as the high rate of re-election for mayors in regional areas and Gladys Berejiklian’s victory in the recent New South Wales state election, to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face communication in political campaigning.

Mr Hingerty added that in both cases, candidates spent a considerable amount of time making personal appearances in their electorate not just in the lead up to the election, but all year round. When the time comes to vote, these candidates already have a significant presence and lead over their competitors.

With just days to go, those who haven’t made up their minds yet will likely choose what they deem to be the lesser of two evils. Clear communication, a personal connection and a bit of luck will yield results at the polls this election.