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What can one say? Great news!

Right Tim, time for me to indulge in a bit of I told you so ism here.

1. Tories are ahead.
2. Cameron brand comprehensively outpolls Tory brand. His favourable rating is a huge 51%, where the party polls 35%. His net favourable vs unfavourable is a colossal 20%.

I was arguing with Sean Fear on the women candidates thread as to whether Cameron outpolled the Conservatives. Here is further proof.

3. Cameron's support is especially high amongst women voters, another point I was debating with Sean on the same thread. From the Sunday Times:

"The Tories will take comfort from this but they will be disturbed by their failure to convert Cameron’s personal popularity, particularly among women, into a stronger poll position, in the light of the government’s troubles."

Furthermore, as I was debating with Tim and others, this poll shows a massive lead for the Tories on law and order where we are already trusted over Labour, but only parity on the NHS. We need to make gains in this area to convert Cameron's numbers into Tory numbers. At that point we are not just talking victory, but landslide.

The internals of this poll are fascinating and I hope the CH usual suspects bother to read them. They utterly destroy the arguments of Chad (a non-Tory, of course) and those who agree with him.

A 3% Tory lead after all of these Prescott-Clarke-Hewitt-Jowell-Levy troubles, Suggestion, with the LibDems on the rise? The Tories are making limited progress but not anyway near enough. Labour were twenty points ahead when the Tories were at their trough. Labour may yet implode but the LibDems are as well positioned to be the main beneficiaries.

Tim,

A Tory lead that is great, the figures on Baxter make that hung parliament territory and (as pointed out on pb.com) Baxter does not account for boundary changes yet.

But my point to you and to those not fans of Cameron's agenda is that Cameron's numbers hugely outpoll Tory numbers. And that your theory about law and order is wrong - we are massively ahead there, yet only equal on the NHS. And further that Cameron's support is hugely above Tory support AND greatest with women.

Your theory has been to get Cameron to tack right. On the contrary, we need to become more like Cameron, who is NOT left-wing at all, but who is coming across as likeable and caring.

CH is on the wrong track. The public like Cameron more than the Tories. They like his women candidate reforms. Support for him among women is huge. On the NHS we are only equal with Labour, on law and order miles ahead.

I submit to you this poll and its internals proves your editorial line of the last couple of weeks has been mistaken.

My feeling is that Labour hurt themselves by messing up in government. Their supporters stay home or switch and often to the Liberals as an alternative left wing party. This boosts Conservative numbers relatively because of the ones that stay home and the smaller number who switch to the Conservatives.

Getting people to switch from the Lib Dems is a much harder project as we have to out positive them as they aren't in government and there image isn't easily damaged. Cameron is on the right track though by targeting their issues. With time and in a General Election rather than a local (where his personal appeal in comparison to Ming can come into play) i reckon it will pay dividends.

The best thing about these polls though is that it should mean more Conservative Councils and Councillors - and next week not in three years.

Maybe the Tories have gone up in the polls because crime is back on the agenda in place of the environment?

Suggestion, the latest and current ElectoralCalculus prediction is for Labour to increase its majority next time.

I won't cause Graeme Archer any further pain by discussing the accuracy of the poll of poll methods, but just for your sake, if we take those numbers at face value and apply them to a general election, it suggests that even in this week, arguably the worst week Labour have had in office, they still come out with a majority.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the aim was to win the general election, not pick the best strategy to come a close second.

John Hustings, and that explains that the Tories poll 35%, but Cameron polls 51%, how?

That is precisely the sort of response I expected from an anti-Cameroon. Let's just ignore the massive difference between Cameron's numbers and Tory numbers, given that Cameron's are miles better!

No, wait! Even better, let's just pretend that Cameron's focus on the environment is unpopular! Even though he gets a 51% approval rating!

No, wait! Even better, let's just pretend that Cameron's focus on the environment is unpopular!

Suggestion, no-one is suggesting that or suggesting that the environment is not an important issue.

However, many are questioning whether it will be a successful strategy for winning the next general election. As far as I am aware, no one single poll, not even at this absolute low for Labour indicates an election victory for Cameron.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Chad, those nmbers on Baxter result as follows:

Lab 306
Tory 271
Lib 36 - a hung parliament, with Labour 18 short of a majority. And this calculation does not take into account the boundary changes, which would likely lead to a Tory majority.

Now let's have some fun, Chad. Let's take the numbers of your arch-nemesis David Cameron and put them into Baxter. 51%? Let's see... that gives...um.... 408 seats.

If the Tories could become as liked as Cameron, Chad, it would all be over. The party needs to prove to the nation it is enthusiastically behind Cameron's programme of reform. And contrary to your posts, David Cameron is not a wet - not even close. He is slightly right of center-right. He advocates an end to early release, selection within schools, lower taxes, withdrawal from the EPP, and some repatriation of powers from Brussels.

And in case I wasn't clear enough...

THE PUBLIC LIKE CAMERON MORE THAN THE TORY PARTY.

Now can we *please* get behind the man's agenda?

Thanks Suggestion, I just wanted to show that even a super pro-Cameroon like yourself cannot find a single poll that gives Cameron electoral victory.

I am not surprised that still even with these excellent poll findings we still get people, so called but I doubt it Conservative supporters still talking the party down.
As I have said before if you don`t like the way the Conservative Party is heading than my advice is simple.Sod Off!!!

Sorry suggestion - but if you are saying its great news that we may get a hung parliament well then - whilst its an improvement it is by no means an electoral success. Are you saying the Conervative party should now just be aiming for a hung parliament. I for one dont regard that as electoral success.

You are right to say talking about the environment is popular - but doing something about crime, drugs and law and order wins more votes.

Jack, come come - that is somewhat churlish isnt it?

The wholepoint of this blog is to debate developments in the party. Should those people who objected to members votes being taken away in the leadership election - including people such as IDS - sod off? They objected to one direction the party was going.

Thursday should be good and give us an impetus for the GE in 2009. I would like to hope we are at the start of a 3-year campaign plan for the next GE, that builds on the successes and raises the pressure on Labour.

The most important thing is for us to look like the next government in waiting - if we let Brown bring in a new generation of ministers without us already appearing to be a credible alternative, we will be letting them back in the race.

We need to bring forward the policy exposition so we can capitalise on Labour's incompetence and voter disillusion, thereby generating positive voter perception for us. Then when Brown takes over, we can position his new cabinet as a bunch of junior ministers who have been promoted for their incompetence.

You're very complacent, Suggestion. I don't want David Cameron to tack left or right - to use your out-of-date description of the political landscape. I want him to embrace the politics of and - emphasising the change messages and the traditional Tory instincts on crime and the economy. In the last 72 hours - to be fair - that is exactly what he and David Davis - ably supported by Richard Bacon and Rob Wilson - have been doing.

If Tories didn't have a big lead on law and order after recent events that would be unbelievable. It's not enough, however, to be ahead on this issue now - we need to maximise and solidify our vote on this vital issue by tackling the public perception that no political party will really make any difference. The same poll btw shows us still behind on the economy and Gordon Brown (the reason for that) will be PM of course on GE polling day.

Tory-supporting newspapers from the Sunday Times to The Sun appear to agree with me. This was yesterday's Mail:

"And where is the Opposition? Presented with so many open goals, the Tories under David Cameron seem mainly interested in parading their green credentials. So Mr Cameron seeks to put a windmill on his roof. He visits a glacier, poses proudly with an environmentally-friendly car and cycles to work (though it would make a cat laugh to discover he is followed by a gasguzzling official vehicle carrying his briefcase and shoes). Butimmigration,theissueattheveryheart of the deportation row - an issue that because of the unprecedented numbers involved should be openly debated by all parties? He has nothing to say. Mr Cameron may well be right not to focus too much on immigration. But it is becoming increasingly absurd for the Conservatives not to have a policy. To be fair, his overriding priority is to change public perceptions. Led by the BBC (which after ignoring it for days is only now beginning to report the Prescott affair properly) millions unjustly believe the Tories too rancorous and right-wing. But whether there is political logic in Mr Cameron's approach, or whether Britain is yearning for a strong Tory party with clear policies, history has yet to reveal. Yet he is quite capable - as he showed this week, when he challenged Mr Blair on the deportation debacle - of making serious points without sounding shrill or extreme. He needs to show much more of this combative spirit."

PS A couple of weeks ago, Suggestion, I listed ten reasons why I supported David Cameron's leadership. Now is the time to debate how we maximise our vote at the next election - not to pretend that all is well. It isn't... although I have every belief that David Cameron - with a better strategy - can deliver.

Some seem to believe that 18 % for the LibDems will mean halving their Westminster seats. It does not take account of tactical voting (and Labour/LibDems always benefit from that). It greatly underscores LibDem seats (because once in, they tend to stay, not because they are good, but because Labour and Tory voters then vote for them to keep each other out, depending on the seat).

Tactically, we should hope for the LibDems to get to 26 % +. Why?...because at that point, Labour starts to implode, and the Tories start to pick up the seats we need for a majority government.

Come on you yellows! LOL

Chad,

Here is a poll. A poll with the approval rating for David Cameron. Put it into Baxter. You get 408 seats. Did you miss that? Cameron's 51% rating?

So what the Tories need to do to get out of the box of the ultra-slim victory currently predicted by these numbers (because Baxter does not account for boundary changes) is become MORE LIKE CAMERON.

The trouble with the Tory ratings not being as high as the leader's ratings is that people do not believe the party has changed, only Cameron.

And Conservative Home, I'm sorry to say, is a big part of that problem. Posters like Chad, ridiculous though it may seem, are a big reason we can't get Tory numbers up to where Dave's are. Because although the average voter does not read CH, the media do, and they are constantly quoting or referring to this blog and its discontent with Cameron. The blog's appalling reaction to the suggestions for personal actions we could take to conserve the environment was a classic example. That was widely reported. Impression? Cameron's green but the grassroots sneer at it.

That sorry episode was what made up my mind to stop lurking and come back here and fight the anti-Cameron majority that dominate the columns.

Cameron's rating is 51%.
Tory rating is 35%.

To get ours up to his, the party, including commenters and the editors of this blog, need to convince the public we accept the need for change and that we are behind his solidly Conservative, solidly green, solidly compassionate agenda.

And I am no wet and nor is he. Ask me whose politics I most despise (mainstream, that is) and I will tell you Ted Heath.

Editor,

Please answer me this, if you will.

Why are Cameron's ratings so far above those of the party?

It is the central question here and I feel you are ignoring the numbers. Cameron polls 16% higher than the party. How do you explain that?

"If the Tories could become as liked as Cameron, Chad, it would all be over. The party needs to prove to the nation it is enthusiastically behind Cameron's programme of reform."

Agree 100%. I had dinner last night with about 10 other people in Clapham all 21-29. This was exactly what they were saying. They Love Cameron, but the Brand is still Conservative. However, they did acknowledge that they would probably swing behind him as time progresses. Apparently Labour has a lead with the Under 35s - Where are these under 35 Labour supporters? I'd say they are more unpopular with my generation than my parents.

And Tim, I realise you put up the 10 reasons. But it seemed most reluctant, and any impression of support is buried under your criticisms in other columns. Any regular reader of the blog knows your strong reservations about Cameron, for example your posts about law and order etc the other day. In particular you take a sarcastic/demeaning line towards his focus on the environment, what was it you said the other day, something like 'now is not the time to start hugging Huskies', your ridicule of "THAT leaflet", and so forth.

I hope I am not personally annoying you. Yours is a unique and wonderful resource and you give up a great deal to run it. I am debating this with you in the devout and most sincere hope of getting you to change your mind. Cameron is more popular than the Conservatives and we will improve on 35% when, and not before, the public believes the party is behind him and what he is doing.

Of course Cameron will provide strong leadership on law and order, I suggest to you that you did not give the NOTW interview and its proposals full credit. Davis suggested a new department of homeland security the other day. Comment about that radical policy on CH? Zero. Central Office must be very frustrated. Conservative Home is the media's window into the Tory party roots and it is offering a distorted picture, I feel.

If you were to realize/promote that to improve we must be more, not less, like Cameron, you could do just so much good with Conservative party poll numbers because of the opinion makers who read you daily.

Therefore I feel as a Tory it is my moral duty to come here and fight this corner.

Suggestion: I'll answer your question... I notice you have responded to none of my challenges.

David Cameron is nice. He's inoffensive. People like him. That doesn't mean people will vote for him or the Conservative Party. Blaming the Conservative Party for David Cameron's strategy is CCHQ's diversionary tactic which you have swallowed whole. Both IDS and Michael Howard and DC (in his honeymoon) took the Tories above 35% in a less favourable climate. The test for a leader isn't whether he wins a beauty contest it's whether he can take his party into government. DC needs a broader strategy if he is going to suceed in that task.

It's cooked breakfast time for me now so I won't be blogging for a little while.

With the current difficulties, of course it's tempting to want Cameron to really put the boot in.

Perhaps instead he's judged that letting Labour self-destruct under the weight of its inconsistencies might be a better ploy? Cameron can chart his own course, not getting involved much in the negatives, and thus present a more stark contrast.

Andrew Price - I think you're right. I teach 16-19 year olds and they are much more right wing than I would ever have thought before I entered the profession. If we ever talk politics (which I do objectively of course) none of them want a bigger government and they all DEEPLY resent the amount of tax their parents have to pay; that an issue that comes up time and time again.

Suggestion - give it up mate, a few of us have spoken up for the majority of the membership (as judged by the panel surveys) but CH is largely a sounding board for disgruntled small 'c' conservatives. I wouldn't get too worked up, it's just the way it is.

I still say the YouGov poll is the best I can remember, notwithstanding Cameron has polled higher headline numbers. This is the first one though that shows Labour heading back down to their core vote.

For Tim to say it shows the LDs into the 20's is a bit odd as neither YouGov or BPIX put them there. The LDs got a bit overexcited by the ICM poll giving them 24% but 18-20 is their real range. Provided we get lots of new councils and councillors we have a very strong platform for the 3 year GE campaign which will pit DC against Tony Blair (who will NEVER leave office of his own volition).

It seems to me that there's plenty of material here for both sides. (By both sides I mean the Pro-Cams and the Cam-sceptics. I won't call them anti-Cams as I'm sure they still want him to win over Blair/Brown, they just want him to change for the better as much as he wants the Tories to change).

'Suggestion' is right, the public certainly DO like DC more than they like the Tories in general. If the Tory party looked and sounded more like DC, then it would be more popular. There's no question about that. As far as I can see, CH/Montgomerie has always maintained that. He used to call DC 'pitch-perfect', acknowledging his personal appeal to voters. In order to win, we Tories must be seen to be more like DC - 'of today', tolerant, non-ideological. Caring about the services that most people depend on. Caring about the environment.

But the sceptics (and I count myself as a semi-sceptic) have two objections to the Cameron project:

1) They don't think 'winning' is enough. They need a genuine vision behind the campaign to win, promoting real solutions, a proper reason to win. Winning by being like New Labour is pointless. It defeats conservatism. We are conservatives because we believe in conservatism as a way to make the world better, NOT as a way to get ourselves a political job.

2) They don't believe that this startegy will actually win anyway. They argue that it can indeed deliver a few points in opinion polls, but not nearly enough. For a real breakthrough, you need to show people how you will make their lives better. How you will solve the big problems. How you will deal with crime, the challenges to the economy, creating a sense of national being and purpose within a safer world. Not just quick-to-fizzle PR stunts. Otherwise you will end up as a better second, not the winner (having destroyed real conservatism on the way).

The solution promoted by CH/Montgomerie (and the Editor will be quick to correct me if I'm wrong) is the 'AND' theory - that you should do most of the things DC is doing while also promoting real solutions. You take people along with you in a muscular Conservatism that is both compassionate AND avoids the traps of relying on sentiment alone. Caring AND fighting sophistry. Feeling AND thinking.

The attempt to 'be modern' is a facade which can hide just how out-of-touch you really are if, for example, you don't know the reality of life in the most chaotics parts of our inner-cities. One doesn't need to 'try to be' something. One needs to be genuinely in touch with oneself and the bigger community.

DC is in danger of making small gains while losing the big purpose, of appearing outwardly modern AND being inwardly out-of-touch. If he wants to be taken seriously as a leader, someone who can be trusted to run this country, then he needs to stop thinking as a PR merchant and start acting like he has a real destiny. He has to prove the Labour chameleon ads wrong (I think the latest one is amazingly effective, and one reason I'm ever-so-slightly concerned about the Editor's 'Chameleon Army' initiative).

Where are we going, Cameron? And how? Not to Norway, and not on a bike.

Sorry, while I was writing my post the Editor was answering for himself. My apologies! I didn't see the further conversation until clicking the 'post' button.

Suggestion, you are wasting your breath. Cameron is trying to change the party but clearly, six months in and THREE YEARS off a GE, it isn't going fast enough for the right.

They want to pressure Cameron for long enough so that, because of their backbiting and infighting, the Tories flatline around 35% up to say mid-2007, at which point they think they will be able to tip him over the brink into a replica of "Hague Mark II" (ie post-1999), so we go into a GE with foam-at-the-mouth xenophobia and curtain-twitching Mail-reading fear.

Then when we lose a fourth GE the likes of Chad will be able to say it was all Cameron's fault for not listening to them in 2006.

This will satisfy the martyr complex that has sprung up in the Party, sort of like Labour in the 80s, where one has to be ideologically pure and regard the party as a pure pressure group, that doesn't have to worry about power, but just whinges on the sidelines.

Suggestion: I've never doubted that Cameron outpolls the Conservative Party. For that matter, I'm not sure that the people with the views to which you object would disagree, either.

The cause of the arguments is precisely that DC is popular with people who don't yet want to vote Conservative. I quite like Frank Field - but if I lived in Birkenhead I'd still vote Tory.

The question is whether/how DC converts his personal support into party support. Some people doubt that he will/can. I'm not in that camp, but I can see that it's a legitimate area for discussion.

I'm not sure it gets us anywhere if every time the Editor posts a new poll we get one lot of comments saying "Cameron is hopeless" (which is untrue) balanced off by another saying "Cameron is the only solution" (which is unproven).

My view that is the relative rise of the Lib Dems still reflects a basic anti-Tory sentiment: won't vote Labour, can't vote Tory. Where Respect are in play, they're picking up a lot of the drop in Labour support instead of the Lib Dems. The question then is what we do to persuade people to vote Conservative.

Tim, for after breakfast - what challenges? I saw none. I just reread both posts. Did you ask me to answer you anything?

If you mean would I comment on editorials, then I say that Murdoch's papers support Labour, not us, and that the Mail and Telegraph, like yourself, supported Davis in the election until it became clear that Cameron would win.

If you are saying the politics of and, then I reply that Cameron is and always has been doing the politics of and but that you do not recognize it. For example, you put up the law and order post and I had to point you to the BBC report on Cameron's caning the govt on immigration and parole. Cameron goes to Norway AND gives an interview to the NOTW pledging to end early release. Cameron talks about ending discrimination against women in selection AND supporting marriage through the tax system. And so forth and so on.

It must be aggravating for him to be constantly practising the AND theory... then being told by CH to start practising the AND theory.

"David Cameron is nice. He's inoffensive. People like him. That doesn't mean people will vote for him or the Conservative Party."

I think this is the main point. David Cameron is less *offensive* to those on the left because he is less threatening to their causes. They don't dread his becoming Prime Minister in the same way they would David Davis, because they realise he wouldn't overturn all the Labour policies of which they approve. He is therefore less of a divisive figure. The fact he is less offensive to those on the left does not in anyway mean they will vote for him however. They're just pleased that he's conceeded so much ground their way.

You need to give people a reason to vote for you, and to do that you need to do more than go around being nice to everyone. Otherwise Cliff Richard would be an ideal Prime Minister.

I agree with Suggestion 120% He is spot on. Also Andrew and Jack Stone, and any one else being POSITIVE. If nothing else, the womens vote will swing it for him. In the ward I am working in, the candidate, Jackie Walker, went out of her way at Manchester to get a pic with Cameron for the campaign literature. I feel she has a very good chance to take this lib/lab seat from them. The problem with the political anoraks who do most of the posting on CH is they can be a tad out of touch with ordinary mortals without an upper second degree in their subject. Cameron just has to keep on his track of convincing the country that we are no longer Colonel Blimp, and that the middle class nulabs are just like those awful dinner party people on bremner bird and fortune.

Suggestion, KB, Margaret

Getting behind Cameron will not be enough.

This thoroughly discredited Blairite Government will be replaced by a reinvigorated Brownite government but will still be able to draw on its enormously successful electoral sighting machine.

Far from being "disgruntled", we all seem to be fighting for the same goal, to beat Labour, we simply strongly disagree on what will be a successful strategy.

I absolutely, hand on heart, believe the next election is winnable, but not with the current strategy. Labour is at an absolute low, but the opposition will be facing a new leader, who will champion stability and his "long term record".

I just wish a few Cameroons would have a go at my 30-second elevator pitch challenge, explaining how in 50 words or less, why a floating voter should vote out Brown.

Think of this as the doorstep pitch. You have 30 seconds to convince a sceptical, floating voter why they should vote out Brown.

This pitch is what activists need on the doorstep, it will focus the mind on what exactly will sway floating voters (outside the M25).

This is a constructive attempt to focus everyone's mind on what is really important to win over voters.

I 100% want Labour to be beaten at the next election. It will give me no satisfaction at all, no "I told you so's", simply pain that once again the Tory Party has been unable to convince the British people that it is fit to replace Labour.

Sure, I am being very tough, but at the next election Labour will cut a lot deeper. The aim is to focus and negate those Labour attacks now.

I could just step back, watch the Tories lose and smile smugly, but I want to beat New Labour. Cameron's M25 strategy is simply not enough.

Please, just have a go at the elevator pitch. Put yourself in the shoes of an activist, and in 50 words or less, try to convince a floating voter why they should vote out Brown.

Suggestion is being highly disingeneous in comparing the polls he is. David Cameron scores 51% in the current YouGov poll when people are asked "Do you think David Cameron will do well or badly as
leader of the Conservative Party?"

This question is obviously different to a voting intention question. You can think someone's doing a good job leading their party, while never harbouring any intention or desire to cast a vote for that person or that party.

In the past, I would have answered "yes" to Blair doing a good job as Labour leader, for example, but would never have voted for Labour.

It feels good to be a Tory this morning. Anyone else pouring over every detail in the Sunday papers today. I remember all the self-righteous indignation by New Labour Ministers in opposition ten years ago. I am loving the papers this morning.

I was very interested to read that the Tories are in a big lead among those certain to vote. I wonder if this may go a long way to explaining why we nearly always do better on the day than in the polls.

Martin,

"I was very interested to read that the Tories are in a big lead among those certain to vote."

I missed that. Where did you find that? Can you quote the numbers?

You are absolutely right that polls usually understate Tory support.

Link is at the top of the page: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2157988,00.html

Will Cameron's Conservatives be net gainers on seats outside London?

Remember the general election is a national one, not confined to inside the M25.

I have no doubt that the Tories will be net gainers inside the M25 but what ouside outside, that huge mass of land outside London?

That Times article only seems to register gains in London.

Suggestion,
The place for that Tory lead is in the Mail on Sunday poll. It has Tories ahead by 9% among those who say they are certain to vote in the locals.

But Suggestion, it is crazy to suggest that a lead in likeability for DC would translate to an equivalent vote share if the whole Tory party were like DC! This mistake goes to the heart of the issue: you assume that personal likeability is what makes a Prime Minister. It doesn't. It's a completely different measure, and your confusion of the two (or pretended confusion - I realise you just wanted to be able to answer Chad) is the same confusion as in the Cameron Project. Being nice is NOT the same as being a leader. On that measure, Charles Kennedy would have won the last election hand-down.

You know perfectly well this is all nonsense!

Bux and others,

Here's the Times poll:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/displayPopup/0,,96848,00.html

Women go for the Tories 39%, Labour 32%. This comes from their affinity for Cameron. Amongst men Lab retain a 1% lead.

It's not just that he is likeable. It is that he offers Conservatism with a social conscience. People who call DC 'Blue Labour' just aren't listening to his proposed policies.

Cut taxes
Support marriage
End early release
Create a department of Homeland Security
Selection in all schools
Foundation schools across the country, with no Local Authority interference
Withdraw from the EPP
Repatriate powers from Brussels (source: podcast interview with Jackie Ashley on the Guardian website).
Control immigration fairly.

Annabel, Jack Stone, Suggestion: out of interest, why do you think there's a duty to be positive here on this site? What exactly do you think is the purpose of this site?

I am positive amongs those whose vote I think I can swing in my community. I am always positive on the doorstep. I want us to win.

But I'm not a robot. I come here to debate. I see the purpose of this site being to share thoughts, to argue, so that conservative ideas get aired and knocked about and come out the stronger.

Why on earth else should we be here? Why, Jack, should we Sod Off? How about I start a site called 'Stepford Wives for David' and you can all go there and say how wonderful he is.

Why do that here? How can that possibly help the Conservative cause in general or Cameron in particular? What will he gain?

We know that the readers of this site are even more positive about DC than Tory members in general, from the last CH poll. So don't tell me this debate is damaging. It isn't.

Suggestion - I admire your vigour greatly. Personally I gave up debating on this site many months ago. I now only check back occasionally to see what the latest attacks on Cameron are. You will find it full of people who would rather another 8-9 years of the TB/GB's than support Cameron towards a victory in 4 years time. In my experience they wish to wait for a “true conservative” to “lead them from the wilderness”). That is of course a perfectly valid opinion, but not one shared by the majority of the Conservative Party.

Anyway, good luck!

Suggestion, it's great that you put 'Cut taxes' at the top. Is that our policy? Since when? I thought Letwin had specifically decreed that it was NOT our policy. I wish it was.

Women go for the Tories 39%, Labour 32%. This comes from their affinity for Cameron.

Which of course is why according to that poll, fewer women than men think Cameron is doing "very" or "fairly" well. Some affinity.

Bux,

I argued above that the reason we are stuck at 35% when DC gets 51% is that the public think only he has changed. To improve party ratings we need to show we have changed and are like him --- AND theory Tories.

The short answer is the media reads the blog and thinks we represent the grassroots. If there's lots of criticism of DC they write "Cameron's changed,not the Tories". And as a result Tory numbers struggle.

I posted a link to the poll. Read the internals. Women who like Cameron more go for the Tories more, by 7%.

I don't think you're being disloyal to argue your case but I do think that the combo of Maskell, Hustings, Blaney, etc etc give the media a false impression of the Tory part and contribute to flat poll ratings.

Everybody's got a right to their opinion of course. I am trying to convince some folks here that Cameron is not the new Ted Heath, but is solidly Conservative. Look at the policies I listed!

Chad,

"I just wish a few Cameroons would have a go at my 30-second elevator pitch challenge, explaining how in 50 words or less, why a floating voter should vote out Brown."

That's all very well Chad, but one has to register on the Imagine Party forum to do that, and why should a Conservative want to register there?

Spelling out my challenges, Suggestion:

+ Why are we only at 35% when Labour is in such deep trouble? Is it because we're talking 90% about environment when the NHS, crime and the tax burden are on voters' minds?

+ It's unlikely we'll form a majority government so long as the LibDems hold 10% of the seats in parliament. The LibDems are on the rise. How are we going to deal with their threat otherwise we'll one day be having to choose "a coalition deal"?

+ One interview on crime in the News of the World (which I welcomed) and one mention of marriage (to the CSJ in January which ConservativeHome also covered) does not amount to the And Theory. That's tick-box politics. It's not been 50% environment and 50% crime. It's not even been 60% environment and 40% crime in recognition that we need to invest a bit more time on an important and neglected issue. It's not even been 70-30 or 80-20. It's been 90-10. That isn't the And Theory. It's crazy.

Jack, the Tory beliefs start off with "We believe in lower taxes".

Sharing the proceeds of growth is nothing more nor less than Thatcherism. Thatcher also wanted to cut taxes when it was fiscally prudent but not before.

What did she do in her first year in office? Cut taxes? Nope. Raised them. To balance the books.

DC will cut taxes as soon as he is prudently able to do so. Brown will have left him a messy economy and he will cut taxes as soon as he can. Lower taxes is a core Tory belief. Cameron has also advocated 'simpler, *flatter* taxes'. That ought to warm the cockles of Tory hearts - if they were listening.

Bux - debating ideas is great and I applaud it. Couching them in terms that are constantly critical of the party leadership is just daft if you support the party. If people here presented their ideas, without being constantly and openly critical of the leadership, then maybe people would bother to listen.

That's all very well Chad, but one has to register on the Imagine Party forum to do that, and why should a Conservative want to register there?

(Rolls eyes and sighs)

Why not just do it here instead of finding a reason not to try?

I don't care less where you type your answer, I want you to focus on this issues that matter.

Editor: 1. We are at 35% because the nation does not believe we accept Cameron's direction and, crucially, because they still do not trust us with the public services. See that link I just posted? Says we have massive lead on crime, but are just equal on the NHS.

2. The lib dems will not hold 10% of the seats. Not a chance. They will lose to us in Lib-Tory marginals like Winchester and elsewhere, and gain from Labour in Lab-Lib marginals. Furthermore, the Liberals are heading very strongly rightwards, ditching the 50% tax policy and sounding tough on law and order (I expect to an end to votes for prisoners shortly). Clegg could be a Tory with a bit of adjustment. the Orange bookers are people we can do business with.

3. Repatriating powers from Brussels, calling for a Dept of Homeland Security, castigating Labour on immigration and parole, withdrawing from the EPP, advocating flatter taxes, selection in sets, - these are all solid Tory measures for your AND theory. As David Davis said in the Spectator he would not serve under DC if it betrayed his conservative principles to do so.

Take another look at what Cameron has been saying and proposing Tim. Ask Central Office for another interview why don't you! After the locals, maybe?

Suggestion, I really like your contributions here. I disagree with some of what you say, but you're so engaging, I'm sure you won't descend to the level of Jack Stone, Hayek's Grandad etc who seem to think we should all have happy faces stuck on.

I don't think we should pretend anything for the sake of media who might be looking at this. If we started pretending - as I say, if we became Stepford Wives for David, no-one at all would look here. The media know that activists amongst themselves will always argue back and forth about the leader, the policies, the team, when they're amongst themselves. Labour and LD parties are just the same. It's the whole point of joining a political party, isn't it? To have a voice?

I think this is important. Those of you who want to be elected to some job, ok I can understand if you think we should just shut up and keep delivering the leaflets. But frankly, if that's what you want, then no-one will deliver for you anymore. You'll end up doing it all by using an employed workforce paid for by a few rich donors (or the state).

Those who attack people who visit this site are welcome to their opinion but what is refreshing about Suggestion and kingbongo is that they are making substantial points. Too many of those who dislike the debates that take place on ConservativeHome spend their time wishing there was no debate. That's not the point of blogging and this site's mission to empower the grassroots.

My guess is that those who comment most are more sceptical about Project Cameron than the people who visit ConservativeHome. After the last ConservativeHome Members' Panel I noted:

"The most regular readers of ConservativeHome were the most enthusiastic supporters of David Cameron. 32% of those who said that they visit the site "most days" said that they were "very satisfied". That compares to 28% of those who visit a few times a week, 27% who visit a few times a month, and 22% who never visit (shame on them!). Overall 35% of the people who completed the survey visit ConservativeHome most days or a few times a week.

If you want a representative picture of ConservativeHome readers/ Tory members people should look at the Members' Panel results rather than comments threads. Remember: the Members' Panel accurately predicted the leadership result.

78% of members voted that they were satisfied with DC in March. I, by the way, was one of them.

Hayek's Grandad, that's not fair. My first post this morning was a fairly lengthy attempt to explore the parts I support and the parts I thought were missing.

I could have just said, 'Hey, it's all great, we're on our way to victory' and made Jack Stone happy. But then we don't need a site for that.

Cheers for that Bux! I agree, debate is good. But not so long ago the anti-Dave camp had the place almost to themselves, now at least there is debate. I thought the CH attack on the environment leaflet, the scorn, was a disaster.

But I certainly have nothing but respect for genuine Tories like yourself, Sean Fear and others. I am trying to talk you round. I want to convince you guys that Cameron is a real solid Conservative. It's just that as well as his sound Tory instincts he has a passion for the environment and social justice that inserts the missing piece into the Tory puzzle for the voters.

Any student of psephology knows that women women elections... those soccer/security moms in the US, Tim recalls, I am sure. This poll gives internal numbers for women: 39% Tory, 32% Labour. That's a very healthy number.

Anyway sadly I must do some work, so no more from me for a bit.

I have to agree with Tim here. I argued last year that the way we ran the election campaign last year made us look like a one issue party. The amount of immigration leaflets we had arrive at our local party made me feel quite depressed. We need to look a more balanced and rounded party and offer more than Victor Meldrew policies.

However recently we have gone from one extreme to the other in only talking about the envoirnment. I hope and suspect that this is just the foundations and we'll have a full range of policies to talk about in a year or so when the policy groups report back. If not, we'll just get the reputation of being wooly.

May I make the suggestion that "Suggestion" works for CCHQ?

I'm afraid I'm with the Editor with this. It quite frankly isn't good enough that we haven't even managed to regain the support we initially had in the opinion polls from the Cameron 'bounce' earlier in the year. It is all very well for Labour to have bad polls, but we are not going to win an election if we're flatlining on 35% of the vote.

Jack Stone (at 10:13) says: "... if you don`t like the way the Conservative Party is heading than my advice is simple. Sod Off!!!"

There's an election-winning strategy for you. I suspect that a very large number of activists will do precisly that.

I do not work for CCHQ. But hey, I'm open to offers! :)

I just had to thank Tim very much for his kind word, and to say that this has been a really invigorating debate - I agree a substantial one - and one of the best threads I've read so far on Conservative Home. If these encouraging polls and their even more encouraging internal numbers can get the CH regulars involved in genuine and spirited debate then that's excellent.

Now I really am off to work, only two hours after I promised myself I would start!

Bux - oh dear I see nothings changed. Two posts and already you're attacking the person not the comments. When have I ever said anything about always being smiley? When have I ever said you shouldn't present your ideas? When have I ever said I agree with DC's agenda in every way?

So do tell me what policy area do you want to discuss and what your ideas are? Or is bitching about 'strategy' all that interests you?

"Cameron is a real solid Conservative. It's just that as well as his sound Tory instincts he has a passion for the environment and social justice that inserts the missing piece into the Tory puzzle for the voters."

If his passion for the environment is so great why then does he have to have his chauffure drive behind him in his car to carry his breifcase?

Richard North - I'm afraid to say the "sod off" strategy seems to be widely used by the leadership these days.

Responding to your points, Suggestion...

We are at 35% because the nation does not believe we accept Cameron's direction."

Or is it because Cameron's changes appear incredible? Not rooted in what they know about the Tory party? It's 'the M&S to D&G in one leap' discussion we had a fortnight ago.

The lib dems will not hold 10% of the seats. Not a chance. They will lose to us in Lib-Tory marginals like Winchester and elsewhere, and gain from Labour in Lab-Lib marginals.

I hope you're right and we'll win in Winchester etc. Thursday's LibDem-Conservative fights will give us a clue as to where the wind is blowing and whether your optimism about the LibDem threat is right and my concern wrong... Will we hold on to Solihull and Richmond-upon-Thames? Will we topple any LibDem councils?

Furthermore, the Liberals are heading very strongly rightwards, ditching the 50% tax policy and sounding tough on law and order (I expect to an end to votes for prisoners shortly). Clegg could be a Tory with a bit of adjustment. the Orange bookers are people we can do business with.

Here I have more sympathy with you - although they support my concern that we'll end up in coalition with the LibDems rather than start to unseat them.

Repatriating powers from Brussels, calling for a Dept of Homeland Security, castigating Labour on immigration and parole, withdrawing from the EPP, advocating flatter taxes, selection in sets, - these are all solid Tory measures for your AND theory. As David Davis said in the Spectator he would not serve under DC if it betrayed his conservative principles to do so.

Repatriating powers from Brussels? I hope so. I haven't seen any promise of that.

Advocating flatter taxes? Undermined, however, by the stability for tax cuts nonsense.

I stand by my earlier point - it's been 90-10 in the environment-crime imbalance.

Tim,

Lib-Tory contests in local elections don't reflect Lib-Tory votes in national elections. As we all know, they are a local election machine.

You want to hear about repatriation from Brussels, go to the Guardian, go to politics, go to more on the Tory party, listen to the Cameron podcast, he says it towards the end.

And I hesitate to make this point in case DC comes across as opportunist, but Cameron is changing te brand by first establishing us as a green party, an anti-discrimination party. Once people actually believe that about us, it will be OK to go on crime and immigration and Labour's mess up of the economy, and before an election, he will. A week is a long time in politics. Give the man a chance to make us as liked as he is and then we will go strong on the important matter of protection from crime and managed, modern immigration.

See that link I just posted? Says we have massive lead on crime, but are just equal on the NHS.

And almost every successive poll of this type for almost a year has shown either a Labour lead on crime and national security, or a wafer thin Conservative lead (1% on the last such YouGov poll listed on the UK Polling Report).

The current lead is likely therefore to be due to the current prisoner release crisis, and the absence of national security issues in recent weeks (where previously issues like 90 days detention have boosted the government in these itemised polls, but hit the Conservatives hard). It's hard therefore to say this poll indicates an endorsement of Conservative crime policies and strategies.

That's why it's worth hitting the issue hard now, to try and translate what may be a fleeting advantage into a permanent one.

Tim,

Is it possible to add a quick poll members now, before the local elections to see if people believe the Tories will be net seat gainers outside London so we can discuss what this would mean to the strategy and its importance?

A main criticism of Cameron's strategy is that is it strengthening support within a narrower base within the M25.

I just wonder how many people will consider a net fall in seats outside London a serious problem.

BTW, I think if Cameron makes roughly equal gains outside as inside London then I completely agree that it will be very positive result, however if the support polarises within the M25, then it will be electoral suicide.

It would be nice to see what people are expecting to be a positive result before it actually comes in and can be spinned to suit whatever pov.

Stability before tax cuts was Thatcher's policy too, as I indicated above.

James, Cameron and Davis have been hard on Labour's fiasco of immigration and crime and will continue to be so whilst stressing the environment at the same time.

See the Tory party political broadcast? It was just fantastic. You liked us so much after watching it.

The BNP have registered at 5%. This is by far the most significant number to appear in these polls and yet all the commentary above is a-flutter about the non-growth of the Conservative vote.

UKIP only ever hit 2% and some commentators (Booker incl.) believe they denied us 26 seats at the last GE. The BNP at this level could deny us 100 or more seats. But with such a growth rate, the BNP could be far bigger than 5% by the GE. This 5% has come from nowhere.

The result by the GE will be one of two things (assuming no increase in government-controlled mass postal voting fraud).

Labour will crash out. The BNP vote will get a huge boost as Labour voters swap to them. But they will not be big enough to get many seats, but be big enough to divide the left-wing (sic) vote three ways, leaving the Conservatives a victory with only 35% of the vote.

Or the Conservative vote also erodes with people angry about Caramel and his sick-making europhile policies. The BNP is drawing support from across the spectrum now according to Prof Anthony King, and many professional typically once Conservative voters are on the verge of joining the BNP bandwagon.

If this happens the Conservatives will never win power at Westminster ever again. If I was Conservative MP doing my sums, I would either get rid of Caramel, or make sure that he is brought to heel by building the 'Better Off Out' campaign until it controls Party policy. Not much choice in it.

Hayek's Grandad - you really are full of it.

"Two posts and already you're attacking the person not the comments." Not so, I focused on the comment. Quite specifically and obviously. After all, I have no idea who you are, nor do I recall anything of what you may or may not have said previously. It follows I must be responding to the comment, not you.

"So do tell me what policy area do you want to discuss and what your ideas are?"
In my first post I talked of the need to balance the agenda, accepting much of DC stands for but pointing out what was missing. It may not be very clever or very original, but it certainly was debate and not, as you so sweetly put it, "bitching".

And now, like Suggestion, I have other things to do. You have the last word, HG. But try to make it fair.

Sorry, I confused "suggestion" and "hayek's grandad" there. The former I rather like.

"Jack, come come - that is somewhat churlish isnt it?"

We've gone over this before - he's a visitor from the UKIP forum who tries to stir up trouble.

"Davis suggested a new department of homeland security the other day."

Personally I wouldn't consider that a good thing.

"Mail and Telegraph, like yourself, supported Davis in the election until it became clear that Cameron would win"

I got the impression that the Telegraph was rather pro-Cameron with the exception of Heffer.

I am certainly pleased that the Tories are ahead, although fear this may be more due to Labour's cockups than Tory strategy. That said, oppositions don't win elections - Governments lose them etc.

I am well aware that Cameron upholds many traditional Conservative policies but I feel that these aren't emphasised enough, hence why in several previous polls people have said they don't know what Cameron stands for. I sympathise with the environmental emphasis but I believe it is now going too far, especially as the most recent MORI poll on "important issues" put environment down at the bottom.

As for the belief that the Tories can gain a popularity rating of 51%, Blair once had this rating but Labour never won an election with over 43%.

By the way, does the poll show that most people approve of Cameron's strategy of positive discrimination? I still fear that this policy will create a great deal of resentment and division within the party.

Incidentally, it is interesting that the BNP have now consistently polled above 5%. Will this be a long-term trend?

Overall: good news but possibly built on shaky foundations.

Suggestion: Stability before tax cuts was Thatcher's policy too, as I indicated above.

That's not a wholly straightforward interpretation. Thatcher didn't promise specific tax cuts before 1979, true. But she did spend 4yrs campaigning aggressively for lower taxes on the basis of "tax is too high and we will cut it by a lot when in office and we have studied the books", right from her acceptance speech. That's not quite the line we have at present, is it? More to the point, it's not what everyone believes is the line.

wow, got it wrong again. I didn't confuse the two, did I? I'm too old for this.

William: I don't like this "Caramel" name-calling. Can we stick to the substantial issues please?

William,

The very first belief in Cameron's statement is: "We believe in lower taxes."

Tim,

Do you see what the Conservatives lead on today?

http://www.conservatives.com/

"Conservatives have charged the Government with failing in its first duty to protect the citizens of Britain after new official figures revealed a fresh surge in crimes involving drugs, robbery, sex and violence.

As the Blair administration battles with its worst credibility crisis yet, Shadow Home Secretary David Davis accused ministers of lacking grip and failing to shield communities from a rising tide of crime, vandalism, and collapsing standards of behaviour.

With robberies up by 6 per cent between October and December compared with the same period last year, while drug offences rocketed by 21 per cent, sex crimes in England and Wales went up by 3 per cent, and violent offences were 1 per cent higher, Mr Davis said: "It is alarming that the crimes which strike the most fear into the hearts of our communities - violence, robbery, sexual offences and drug related crime - continue to rise. It is also worrying that detection rates for violence, robbery and sexual offences are actually lower then they were in 1998/99. Drugs destroy communities, and fuel other crime."

He declared: "The Home Office must get an urgent grip on this problem. They are failing in their principle responsibility to protect the citizens of this country."

It goes on in the same vein. (And I am working as I comment!)

Chad:

"Anyone can spend money recklessly and Labour do it all the time. What is their answer to complaints about the NHS? 'We've spent lots of money on it!' Squandered, more like.

Vote Conservative and the Nation will get value for money and your tax burden will be relieved too, as we sort out the mess.

We cannot do it without your vote, please vote Conservative on polling day."

Suggestion,
Do you believe the Tory Party will be net seat gainers outside London, ie all seats outside the m25 in next week's elections?

:-) Thanks Christina. I really need as many Cameroons as possible to do this. I'm sure an important pattern will emerge.

Someone asked for a 30 second doorstep pitch on why GB should be thown out. Here's suggestion:

Gordon Brown represents a Scottish constituency. His proposals for Education, Health, Social Security, criminal justice and a host of other policy areas do not apply to his own constituents, being devolved to the Scottish parliament.

The Labour Party cannot command a majority for their program at Westminster without the support of Scottish MP's voting on matters which do not apply to their own consituents. Likewise, many senior cabinet posts are held by Scottish MP's whose briefs do not affect their own consituents (not to mention Gorbals Mick the Speaker with his free and easy invocation of the Parliament Act on matters that do not affect his own consituents).

To have a Scottish constituency MP as Prime Minister in such circumstances would be to compound what is already a gross affront to democracy

It is high time that the Conservative Party gave careful consideration to English Nationalist sentiment instead of pussy-footing around the issue - because if they don't, others will.

Chad: it is too late to poll the CH Members' Panel on London's elections etc but it's still not too late for anyone to answer April's questions that are already live... here!

Chad,

as a party we are already the party of the countryside. We need to make gains in cities. That is what I'm hoping for. Inside or outside the M25 is fine with me. I have not seen enough detailed projections to guess at this stage. I think we'll do fine.

..but to answer my question, do you think the party will be net gainers on the seats outside London?

Suggestion, theres no need to worry anymore about me being a member whos complaining. I have decided to quit the Conservative Party.

I'm very sorry to hear that James. IIRC, you are only 21. Consider your political future and reconsider.

There is no priority list for councillors, James, and I know you were interested in serving as a councillor.

James,

I am not in anyway going to try and lure you over to Imagine, but please would you detail you reasons for quitting on the ConservativeVoice forum there, to help understand why you have come to this decision.

Chad,

I did answer the question. Read my comment.

"John Hustings, and that explains that the Tories poll 35%, but Cameron polls 51%, how?"

Because the questions are quite separate, obviously. One is a voting intention question, the other is a quetion about how good someone is at leading their party.

Answer this, why do Yogov consistently show Cameron trailing his party in terms of who the voters wish to be Prime Minister?

I've yet to be convinced that polling in the low to mid thirties under Cameron is good, but polling in the low to mid thirties under Howard or IDS was bad.

Suggestion, you didn't. It is a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

London is a very different city from the rest of the UK. The London result is in no way relective of the country and other cities in the country as a whole.

Excluding the result of seats inside the M25, do you think the tory party will be net gainers?

Yes or No? The only other possible answer is zero gain or loss.

Come on Suggestion, give me a straight answer.


By way of comparison, Charles Kennedy consistently had net approval ratings of +20%. It didn't follow that the public wanted him to be Prime Minister, or that they wanted his party in government.

I've yet to be convinced that polling in the low to mid thirties under Cameron is good, but polling in the low to mid thirties under Howard or IDS was bad.

Surely Howard and IDS polled in the low thirties because we hadn't changed, and Cameron polls in the low thirties because we haven't changed enough.

I think that's the vital distinction the Cameronites would try to make...

I am 22 and I understand that the Priority List does not affect Council elections, but I disagree with the principle of it. It is very likely to affect the neighbouring constituency of Thanet South and I cannot support it. I dont think my political future is at risk by this as I am known for being me, not a member of the Conservative Party.

Chad, Id be glad to. Im seeing family this afternoon but Ill write something for it.


FWIW, I think we'll now do very well on Thursday, because of the events of the past week. We may suffer a small net loss to the Lib Dems, but we'll make a handsome gain from Labour (as will the Lib Dems, and a whole variety of small parties).

It is notable that in the Yougov poll the Tories have gone down by 2%.

Personally I haven't read much in the newspapers about how "Cameron might have changed but the Tories haven't" followed by references to posts on ConservativeHome. Therefore, to blame this drop on posters here or other grass roots members doesn't seem to make sense.

Before I am accused of being a negativist, I stuck up for Cameron on previous poll threads when the Tories were down to the mid-30s, partly to balance anti-Cameron opinion.


As it happens, James, I think Cameron probably has won over some Labour and Lib Dem voters, but he's shed as many voters to further-right parties.

Chad, I said I didn't have enough information to guess. You either read past it or ignored it. I'm not interested in giving you any more oxygen, frankly.

Sean, this is a vague memory, but wasn't the YouGov question from a tiny and unrepresentative sample? Link me to the poll and I will tell you. We both know from Smithson that a Cameron led Tory party outpolls a Brown led Labour party. We further know, and I gave you the polls in the other thread, that the Tory rating improves when the question is Cameron led Tory party vs. straight Tory party. Any association with Cameron lifts Tory numbers.

Sorry, the BPIX poll!

The poll results have some encouraging findings. However we will not win just level pegging on an issue like the NHS. To show we are a changed party we must lead on the health service. Voters must activley choose us as the ones they trust with the health service. That is what we sould aim for. I think we have done better in the last few days because law & order has got back onto the agenda re Clarke etc. Agian I stress we must conc on the issues that epople are concerned about and they are: Health,Law & Order,Pensions,Education,council tax.

Matt


Actually, Matt, I think being level on the NHS is just fine. It's never going to be a Tory issue, but if we can neutralise Labour's lead, that's an excellent outcome.

Sabretache, I'm glad you have tried to look at an "elevator pitch" as I think this was actually quite a good request from Chad although i don't agree with much of what he says. However an elevator pitch is really a one-liner and I think it needs to focus on what modern Conservatism is and what the raw propositon to vote for us should be,

Matt

One liner, Matt?

"We want Government which trusts the people in place of Labour's telling people to trust the Government."

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