Polling body YouGov has conducted a review of general election advertising, uncovering a morass of "illegal, indecent, dishonest and untruthful" campaign literature, as new research shows 87% of the public back tougher rules on enforcing factual claims only.
Commissioned by the Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising (CRIPA) the research combed the largely unregulated frontlines of a titanic battle for political supremacy the pollsters probed for fibs and falsehoods.
The campaign group did not have to look far to find untruthful claims which, if made by brands, would ordinarily be banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). However, the regulator has no jurisdiction on party political advertising. CRIPA claims its study underscores how millions of voter impressions could be formed based on misleading or insufficient information.
Alex Tait, the co-founder of CRIPA, said: “With a significant drop in the public’s trust in politicians and the democratic process we hope this paper illustrates the urgent need to set out some basic rules for political advertising content. There currently aren’t any.
“The ASA’s mantra of legal, decent, honest and truthful should apply to political ads just like it does to all other forms of advertising. This election has provided ample evidence of the need for leadership from the political parties to act.”
To remedy this state of affairs CRIPA is calling for political parties of all stripes to agree to be regulated via the ASA directly or by a "specialist extension".
In one recent example, The Conservative Party incurred the wrath of the BBC after appropriating footage of its presenters for use in its own partisan political broadcast.