The unpopularity of Gordon Brown and Labour's economic record meant 2010 was the Conservatives' best electoral opportunity in a generation.
The party won nearly 100 more seats in the party's best electoral performance since 1979.
The party came agonisingly close to a majority; falling short by 16,000 votes spread across nineteen constituencies.
62% of Conservative Party members thought the Tory campaign was poor. Just 20% thought it was good or excellent.
The team around Cameron failed to decide a big theme for the election, choosing instead to run a presidential campaign based around the personality of David Cameron.
The Conservatives won 21 more seats than if the national swing towards the party had been averaged evenly across the nation.
The Tories' fundraising machine was a huge success; raising more money than the party could spend, putting the party in a good place for a second election.
The decision to agree equal status for the Liberal Democrats in the election debates was the most avoidable cause of the Tory failure to win a majority. The debates have institutionalised three party politics and confused the Tory campaign.
The Conservatives never developed a consistent economic message, choosing - perhaps rightly - to downplay the austerity message in favour of caution.
The 'Big Society' message was never poll tested or properly focus grouped and failed to cut through on the doorstep.
After having led public anger on expenses throughout the summer of 2009 David Cameron did not develop his anti-politics message in 2010.
Tory strategists underestimated David Cameron's ability to sell traditional Tory messages - such as a tough approach to immigration - to floating voters.
Tax cuts twice reversed the Conservative Party's slide in the opinion polls - both at times of maximum vulnerability.
Team Cameron achieved considerable success in winning the support of key newspapers but the BBC remained hostile, complicating the Tories' electoral task.
The Tories lacked the killer touch that characterised Blair's campaign against Major in 1997. Although Labour performed badly the Tories shrank from the same kind of negative strategy.
David Cameron was right to modernise the Conservative message but newer messages on, for example, civil liberties and the environment should have been integrated with more familiar messages so that modernisation appeared authentic to voters.The Conservative Party underperformed in Scottish constituencies, seats with large numbers of public sector workers and also amongst ethnic minority voters. It must now decide whether reassuring those voters could be at the expense of easier-to-reach voters in England and in the highly taxed private sector.
The Cameron project remains an exciting project - blending traditional Conservatism on tax, crime and immigration with new messages on the environment, poverty-fighting and civil liberties.
In preparing for a second election the Tory leadership needs to negotiate for the debates to take place earlier in the caampaign; put more money into its ground war; build better relations with the whole of the party and conservative movement; trust professional polling to test messages; and develop clearer decision-making structures.