The ComRes conundrum….
The latest ComRes poll has caused something of a stir; not only does it show a drop in the headline figures for the Conservatives but it also provided some other worrying data. The Independent loudly proclaims that it shows Cameron has not ‘sealed the deal’. However, even at high points for the Conservatives I would argue that has been something that has been glaringly obvious.
If you look at the poll in detail then the findings are pretty damming. For example, a clear of majority of all ‘social grades’ (except the AB one) agree that the Conservatives would represent the wealthy instead of ordinary people. In other words, Cameron hasn’t even convinced the middle-classes that he represents them. Worryingly for Cameron the only age group that didn’t take this view was the over 65s which shows that the image of the Conservatives as a class biased party is well ingrained in several generations popular psyche.
This attitude is reflected later on when the AB’s are the only ‘grade’ who see the Conservatives as an appealing alternative to Labour by a majority (though C2’s are closely split). Interestingly for Nick Clegg, of those who say they intend to vote Liberal Democrat 62% find the Conservatives unappealing. In terms of the age demographics there is a crumb of comfort for Cameron; the 18-24s joining the over 65s in seeing the Conservatives as appealing.
Other crumbs of comfort exist notably that the Labour lead on protecting public services is far from convincing (46-47%) and the poll shows support for raising the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million. A couple of things need to be said about this; it’s not true that this question was asked as part of a ‘broad spectrum of policy based questions’. All the other statements were very general in character and this one is very specific. So it represents something of a curveball in that sense.
I tend to think its a question likely to illicit a sympathetic answer because raising a tax threshold would generally be seen as a good thing. What could have proved whether this was the case or not was a supplementary question on whether the respondents saw the raising of the threshold as likely to effect them. Sadly, ComRes never asked this so the precise meaning will be thrashed out and determined by your own particular bias on the question.
It seems to be at variance with people’s perception of the Conservative Party as representing the wealthy and not ordinary people though neither citation takes account of self-preception nor does it show how this feeling effects a more general attitude to the Conservative Party. Overall, the broad thrust of The Independent analysis is correct and there is a warning there for Labour too; that they are not making the case on things like public services and Inheritance Tax so they are not properly benefitting from the electorates hesitancy to rush into David Cameron’s embrace.