Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:00 AM 13th May 2024

Could A Soundtrack Change Rishi Sunak’s Chances Of Election Success?

After the Conservatives suffered historic losses in the recent local elections - could a soundtrack help turn things around for Rishi Sunak in time for the General Election?

Politicians have often turned to music as a powerful vehicle for winning over the public’s hearts and minds, with notable examples including New Labour adopting Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream in 1997.

And rightly so: research shows music and sound play a uniquely powerful role in shaping our memories, perceptions and emotions, while a recent Ipsos study showed sonic branding cues are eight and a half times more powerful than visual logos.

And now, as the Conservative and Labour leaders dust off all the ammunition in their armoury, a new study has revealed the soundtracks most likely to carry either party to election success later this year.

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ by McFadden & White is the track most likely to turn things around for Rishi Sunak in time for the General Election, according to the research from sonic branding agency DLMDD and audio testing company SoundOut, followed closely by Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.

Meanwhile, Changesby David Bowie is the track most likely to see Labour secure the landslide election it is hoping for, followed closely by Take on Me by A-ha.

The study from DLMDD and SoundOut used specialist brand-matching technology to reveal the 12 attributes voters most look for in their political leaders, and how Sunak and Starmer measure up against these attributes.

The results show Starmer consistently outperforms Sunak against all 12 attributes chosen by voters, which are as follows: charismatic, compassionate, competent, credible, hard-working, honest, human, inspiring, leader, reliable, visionary and warm.

The attributes Starmer scores most highly in are: honest (50%), human (50%), leader (50%), visionary (49%), charismatic (47%) and credible (47%).

Sunak scores lower than Starmer across all 12 attributes, scoring best for honest (41%), human 37%), leader (35%) and visionary (35%) than other attributes.

DLMDD partnered with SoundOut to hypothesise and test the soundtracks which most correspond with current perceptions of the two politicians, as well as the tracks that would give each of them a lift in the areas they most need it.

The tracks that most closely capture current perceptions of Keir Starmer are You Get What You Give, by New Radicals, followed closely by Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac.

The tracks that most closely capture current perceptions of Rishi Sunak are the roaring rock anthem ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor, followed by ‘I Won’t Back Down’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Attributes Starmer most needs a lift in are approachable (37%), dependable (37%), witty (35%) and sincere (38%).

Tests show Changes by David Bowie is the track most likely to boost Starmer’s scores in these areas and see Labour pull so far ahead it becomes unstoppable in the run-up to the General Election, followed by 80s anthem ‘Take on Me’ from Norwegian synth-pop band A-ha.

Attributes Sunak most needs a lift in are compassionate (30%), inspiring (26%), reliable (27%) and warm (30%).

Funk and soul record ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ by McFadden & White is the track most likely to help him win voters round between now and the General Election, followed by timeless classic ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles.

Max De Lucia, co-founder of DLMDD, said:
“Music and sound have an unrivalled ability to shape our emotions, shift our perceptions of a person or a brand and influence how we think, feel, behave - even vote. We wanted to have some fun with this research, using music to illustrate how people feel about our political leaders - as well as how they could tap into the power of sound to boost their chances in the General Election.”

Grace Hammond, co-founder of SoundOut, said:
“SoundOut’s brand-matching technology helps us understand how people feel about a brand, and then matches their perceived and desired attributes with music to transform a brand’s appeal. It’s intriguing to get this insight into public perceptions of Starmer and Sunak, as well as the tracks most likely to help them win over the public this year.”

 AttributeKeir Starmer Rishi Sunak
8Inspiring 41%26%