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Council elections not influenced by imbalanced media

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

We have released the report of our investigation into the influence of media on the Council elections last year.

We have concluded that media coverage was imbalanced; focussed disproportionately on the mayoral contest and favouring a very small set of candidates. 10 candidates received 44% of all mentions, and 83% of candidates were mentioned five times or less (including zero mentions).

In the main cities we reviewed, 20% of mayoral candidates (6 candidates) received over half (57%) of all media coverage.

Critically though, the study showed that media coverage was not the main factor in winning elections. Three mayoral candidates who received the most coverage in their races did not win. Three of the five winning city mayors got less coverage than at least one other competitor.

A far more reliable predictor of success is a candidate’s character traits, exhibited in performances such as debates. Candidates who won were more likely to have a highly personable, confident, and affable demeanour.

We conclude that candidates should look to themselves, rather than blaming media. Winning elections is far more dependent on their character, and their choice of issues, than it is on media coverage.

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