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Party in power can find success in finding fault

The Conservatives are likely to use more and more negative campaigning in the run up to the General Election to dissuade voters from picking a new party.

As Prime Minister David Cameron uses increasingly critical language to describe Labour, recently calling the party a “bunch of hypocritical, holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists”, Brunel University London’s Professor of Political Science Justin Fisher told Sky News the tactic wasn’t surprising.

He said the negative attack was indicative of tactics often used by a party in power to put down any challenges to leadership. In contrast, rival parties look to enhance their own profile, though negative campaigning can still focus on a party in power’s failures in office.

Prof Fisher said negative politics could be successful – to a point. He added: “There’s a fine line to be trodden. It can work if you’re trying to portray the opposition party as being inexperienced.” However, in the run-up to the 2005 General Election: “Voters reacted very badly when Michael Howard portrayed Tony Blair as being a liar.”