Long time Labour-supporting paper The Guardian turned its (qualified) support to the Liberals this weekend. The Telegraph, Express and Daily Mail have already made their Tory allegiances clear in the previous weeks.
The Rupert Murdoch owned Times newspaper will makes its allegiances clear on Monday, Sky TV reports. Given Murdoch’s affiliation with the Tory Party, this is unlikely to surprise many.
As any chart-wielding internet denzien will tell you, the Guardian, along with the Independent, have around the lowest of newspaper circulations, with the Tory-supporting Daily Mail and Sun having the highest.
Newspaper readership has, however, decreased over the years. This decline started in the 70s and has not abated today. That is, physical newspaper readership has decreased. But we no longer merely read physical newspapers: we read them online.
And this may be the Guardian’s biggest asset: fewer and fewer people read physical newspapers, but more and more read online newspapers, and the Guardian has the largest online monthly readership (and within spitting distance of the largest daily readership) according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic.
The Guardian may also attract more than potential Liberals. It’s appealing to the mass of disallusioned voters by supporting the Liberal vote for the electoral reform it will bring. It’s also appealing to Labour, by asking people to vote Labour in Tory/Labour marginal seats instead of Liberal, to bring about this reform.
Also, Labour’s support plummeted in the last election, with most Labour voters staying home intead of voting. But with this Guardian-approved left alternative, it may well be that those who stayed home last election may venture out to X the Liberal box.
Although the Guardian may be among the bottom of the physical sales, its mass of online readers should make the race to Number 10 even closer. Exciting times.