YouGov starts polling for CCHQ
The most important story concerning the Conservatives today appears over at the Wall Street Journal from Iain Martin; Tories Hire YouGov to Do New Private Polling.
Paraphrasing, this is how a senior CCHQ source explained what has happened to me:
- Up until now now the Cameron team has had only Populus telling them what the outside world was thinking.
- The intelligence from Populus was brought to them by the same team who run operations in the party's marginal seats. In other words our marginal seats operation wasn't being independently evaluated.
- Populus and Team Ashcroft and commenters at The Times (for whom Populus poll) have agreed for a long time that the Tory strategy must avoid mentions of immigration and other core vote issues and focus on "detoxification". This was all set out in Lord Ashcroft's 'Smell The Coffee' report. That report borrowed heavily from 2001's 'A Blue Tomorrow' book, an argument for changing the party that emphasised modernisation of social mores rather than social and international justice. It recommended a strategy that said we only need to talk about the new conservatism and not integrate it into the old because voters would never stop believing we were the party that wanted to cut taxes/ take powers back from Europe etc.
- The introduction of YouGov polling will give the Cameron leadership a new source of information about issues that voters are discussing, how they perceive the party and the most streetwise language that the party should be using. A bit eleventh hour but welcome nonetheless.
PS I have two declarations of interest. One of ConHome's owners is Stephan Shakespeare who is CEO of YouGov and the other is Lord Ashcroft who is author of the Smell the Coffee report. I've talked to neither about the content of this post.
6.30pm James Forsyth: "I understand that the Tory deal with YouGov will mean that they will get polling within the day on their morning announcements and the like. They will also have numbers on which moments in the leaders’ debates resonated with the voters about two hours after these debates finish, enabling them to have whole ad campaigns ready to go for the next morning." Janet Daley has also written about the central weakness of 'Smell the Coffee'.