Today's press and blogs are full of analysis on why the No campaign won and why the Yes campaign failed. There's lot of good logical analysis but I think some basic points are being missed.
WIIFM - or What's In It For Me? is a basic test that needs to be applied when any proposition is being presented. If the punter doesn't have a clear idea of the answer to this question then the proposition is not going to sell.
People do things primarily for self interest and this is where the Yes campaign failed so appallingly.
'What is the benefit for me in voting for AV?' was a question that few could answer. The Yes campaign came up with some flimsy idea that voting Yes would somehow make MPs more accountable and harder working but it simply didn't hang together or make sense to anyone.
But did the No campaign come up with really compelling answers to this question - i.e. what's in it for me to vote no to Av?
I would contend that they didn't. There were no really compelling arguments on either side.
So. As a result it became an argument centred on political loyalties. The No campaign successfully split the left vote by drawing in Labour politicians to the campaign - eg John Reid. Then in the later stages David Cameron took centre stage and secured the Conservative vote.
The Yes campaign threw this one away. If they had have delivered a range of benefits for voting for AV then they could have won it.
Some of the analysis concludes that the the idea of positioning AV as an expensive option was critical. Nonsense. The fact that this factor had any impact was simply a reflection of the fact that the Yes campaign failed to establish any tangible benefits for AV. In other words, there was so little value established that even a small price was too much.
As they say 'Price is not an objection' it simply reflects a lack of perceived value. And that's what killed the Yes campaign - they failed to establish any value for their proposition.
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