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One easy way the media could make David Cameron's life very difficult indeed, according to research

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(Picture: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

If we mention that David Cameron’s government has a working majority of only 16, then the public is less likely to believe he can deliver on campaign promises, new research has found.

The study by University of Exeter researchers surveyed 1,830 people from 600 different constituencies to gauge their opinion on the performance of the Conservative government.

They found that if participants read articles which focused on the small majority, they were also significantly more likely to believe it is important to have a powerful government in office, while less likely to believe that David Cameron could have an impact on their lives.

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David Cameron's government currently holds a "working" majority of 16 seats - Sinn Fein's four elected MPs do not take their seats in Westminster.

The researchers also found that the general election coverage of then Labour leader Ed Miliband was more negative than the coverage of the Conservative leader David Cameron.

The analysis comes from data on 400,000 news stories and 371,000 tweets.

Dr Ekaterina Kolpinskaya, associate lecturer in quantitative methods at the University of Exeter said:

Our research highlights the differences in tone and content of general election coverage between traditional and social media, and also shows that there are differences in the way parliamentary candidates are presented in the media based on personal characteristics – such as gender.

Many voters might have the perception that most media coverage focused on which party was ahead or behind in the polls, but we found there was a great deal of focus on party policy and issues facing the country.


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