Labour targets the Burdened Optimist in quest for votes

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Indy Politics

Mondeo Man and Essex Man have been replaced by Burdened Optimists and Rustbelt Resilience in a sophisticated Labour campaign plan to target voters during the summer.

A briefing document tells Labour MPs to use a specially developed computer system to help them identify families and raise the right issueswhen they go out canvassing.

Hazel Blears, the Labour chairman, who is leading the summer campaign, says in a foreword to the document: "After nine years in government, it can sometimes be tough being a Labour Party member. After nearly a decade in office, no party can expect an easy ride from the voters or media. But we have a fantastic story to tell."

The computer programme, called Mosaic, means the canvassers can press the right buttons when they contact the voters. However, the voters may be less than pleased when they discover how they are being categorised.

Middle-class voters - such as Mondeo Man, the swing voter Tony Blair said Labour needed to win power - are identified as Burdened Optimists. Other categories include Asian Enterprise and Industrial Grit while those on lower economic levels are listed as Coronation Street, Metro-multiculture, Low Horizons, Rustbelt Resilience, New Town Materialism and Towerblock Dwellers.

Burdened Optimists have white-collar managerial jobs and are identified as "swing voters, high turnout", often living in modern housing on the edge of large cities or towns. Asian Enterprise families are strong for Labour with a high turnout.

Coronation Street families "own or rent small terraced houses" and have low incomes with low-skilled jobs. Voters listed as Industrial Grit live in mining towns such as Barnsley in South Yorkshire, are "strong for Labour", "own and live in older, large but unpretentious houses in industrial or former industrial/mining areas", and work in blue-collar occupations.

Metro-multiculture voters are listed as "Labour supporters but low turnout", and are "renters rather than buyers", with low incomes and a high percentage are often from black and other ethnic minority communities. Towerblock dwellers are also on low incomes, inclined to rent rather than buy their homes, are often young parents with infants, use community facilities and are interested in issues such as getting more financial help, such as through child benefit and child trust funds. Low Horizons voters are usually young families in social housing on the outskirts of big cities.

Rustbelt Resilience voters are clinging on to jobs in the hard-hit manufacturing sector in regions such as the West Midlands, where many factories closed in the 1980s - a decline known in the United States as the "rustbelt". New Town Materialists - like those living in key Tory target seats such as Basildon - have larger families, many with school-aged children, and live in former local authority housing.

One Labour MP said: "I don't need any advice on how to knock on doors. That's not the problem - it's issues like the Iraq war that I have to contend with."

Mosaic is also used by companies to find out in detail what their customers are like in different areas. Some supermarkets will adjust their "ready meal/fresh food ratio" according to the type of people living close by, while others may change decor or music.

How voters fit in to Labour's Mosaic of Britain

* Burdened Optimists - swing voters, high turnout; lower managerial jobs; often living in modern housing on the edge of large cities or towns. They focus on career and home, and are raising young families. Contact via internet, e-mail or text messages.

* Asian Enterprise - strong for Labour, high turnout; well qualified, many from Asia; white collar, professionals, directors of small businesses. Issues: education, employment, equality, interest rates. Contact via internet, e-mail, text messages.

* Coronation Street - strong for Labour, low turnout, own or rent small terraced houses and have low incomes with low-skilled jobs. Major beneficiaries of family benefits. Issues: child benefit and child trust funds. Contact via doorstep.

* Industrial Grit - strong for Labour; own and live in older, large but unpretentious houses in industrial or former industrial/mining areas; blue collar occupations. School age children. Issues: low interest rates, tax credits. Contact via leaflets and direct mail shots.

* Metro-multiculture - Labour supporters but low turnout; renters rather than buyers; low income; high percentage from black and minority ethnic communities. Issues: equality, community facilitie. Contact via leaflets.

* Towerblock - low incomes; renters rather than buyers; often young parents with infants; use community facilities. Issues: financial help, child benefit and child trust funds. Contact through text messaging and newsletters left in community centres.

* Low Horizons - young families living in social housing on the outskirts of big cities. Issues: financial help, regeneration, and community facilities. Contact via doorstep or local newspapers.

* Rustbelt Resilience - live in established communities. Issues: crime and local environment, benefits for elderly and carers. Contact on the doorstep.

* New Town Materialists - larger families, many with school-age children; live in ex-local authority housing. Aspirational with a strong emphasis on the family. Issues: stable interest rates, the economy, education, tax credits and childcare provision. Contact through e-mails and doorstep campaigning.

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