The aim of this thesis is to analyse how the loss of political power affects the potential voter segment of political parties. The thesis is based on a case study of SF’s departure from government in January 2014. SF joined the government coalition for the first time in September 2011. This marked the end of a journey started by former party leader, Villy Søvndal, who had successfully transformed the party from an opposition party into a party that was ready to take responsibility as part of the new left-wing government. Soon after, the party began to struggle with negative media coverage and declining numbers in the polls. Many felt that SF had traded in their ideological beliefs in favour of a seat at the table, and the change in leadership only seemed to fuel the downward spiral. SF’s debut as a government party came to a halt in January 2014 when the sale of the public utility company, Dong Energy, led the party to leave the government. As part of the thesis I investigate how potential voters form opinions based on media frames connected to the time period when SF left the government coalition. My methodological approach is based on two focus group interviews. One of the groups was exposed to a negative frame of SF’s departure from the government. The other group was exposed to a frame that depicted the events in a more favourable light. The design is set up to investigate the effects of media framing on SF’s target audience. The study showed that the frames had very little effect on the participants in the focus groups. Instead I found that voters’ pre-existing categories overruled any effects of the media frames, as long as the categories associated with SF are sympathetic in general. The members of the focus groups consistently displayed the ability to adapt to negative frames by constructing a positive narrative to replace the negative one. Therefore the events that led SF to leave the government, thereby losing political power, did not play a key role in the potential voters’ perception of the party. The need for a causal explanation was not observed in the participants, which may allow them to more easily forgive the actions of SF and move on. This ability should be present in voters associated with other political parties as well. The knowledge obtained in this study will therefore be helpful to further understand how voters form opinions about political parties in times of instability and turmoil.
|Uddannelser||Kommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat|
|Udgivelsesdato||27 aug. 2014|
|Vejledere||Rasmus Kleis Nielsen|