Harold Wilson's attempts to retain power in 1970 have been described as complacent and low key. His timing, praised in 1966, also seemed at fault.
With the election set for 18 June many voters would be on holiday and the World Cup would always grab more confidently at the public's imagination, especially when the England team were among the tournament's favourites.
Following the trend of recent elections the politicians pitched their campaigns and press conferences with TV and radio in mind, and the relatively new innovation of phone-in programmes also made an impression.
The public, for its part, was well used to both main party leaders by now and showed little interest in getting to know them better.
The Liberals found out just how difficult it was to promote their new leader when the renegade Conservative politician Enoch Powell's outbursts secured more of the media's attention than their new leader, Jeremy Thorpe.
Powell's inflammatory speeches on immigration lead Heath, during the campaign, to rule out including him in any future Conservative cabinet.
Up until the last few days everything looked set for a gentle Labour victory but then events seemed to turn the public mood suddenly.
England were dumped out of the World Cup by - of all teams - the West Germans and freak balance of trade figures drove a coach and horses through Wilson's claims that Labour could run the economy.