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Scottish Conservatives: How bad is the decline in support? How is the party's identity perceived? How can the decline be stopped?

is the amount of votes lost between the Westminster elections in 1997 and the Scottish elections in May 2011, despite the fact that 1997 is usually viewed as the party's worst ever election result. This includes more than 100,000 list votes gone since 1999.

is the year by which the Scottish Conservatives will receive only just over 100,000 votes - if the current decline of 37,000 votes per Parliamentary term continues. This will be the same as Tommy Sheridan received in 2003, and less than the Greens in the same year. This would also mean there is a good chance of electing fewer than 10 Scottish Conservative MSPs.

was an election year with a new Conservative leader, David Cameron, and yet the decline in the Conservative vote was not arrested. The same goes for John Major, who couldn't reverse the fortunes of the Conservatives or get the vote back up to Mrs Thatcher levels in 1983. 

was the percentage of the list vote achieved by Labour leader Iain Gray earlier this year - despite having only +1% popularity. Contrast this with +10% popularity for Annabel Goldie, and her list score of 12% - which shows that having a popular leader (or a more popular leader) will not produce election success.

is the difference between the 2010 vote in Scotland for Westminster seats (412,855), and the vote in the Scottish elections earlier this year (276,652) - which disproves the theory that the Scottish Conservatives would do well at Holyrood if there was a Conservative(-led) Westminster government back in power. 

Every other party
has tasted success in Scotland since 1997, except for the Conservatives. The Greens/SSP had their time in 2003, the Lib Dems in 2005, the SNP in 2007, Labour in 2010, and of course the SNP earlier this year. Whilst Labour has lost support since 1997, their voters have not returned to the Conservatives, they have gone elsewhere.

of voters think the Conservatives put English issues first, according to polling from earlier this year. This compares with about 25% for Labour, and about 30% for the Lib Dems. However, this is not as surprising as the fact that...

of voters think the Conservatives put Scottish issues first. Even if they share our values, voters are unwilling to go for a party they consider too English, and insufficiently Scottish. 

Dumfries and Galloway
is an example of a Westminster constituency we targeted last year - but our vote decreased, and the Labour vote increased due to tactical voting. We were only 2,922 votes behind Labour in 2005, but last year, Labour secured a 7,449 majority. This pattern is true of other seats last year - Labour performed well in seats that, on paper, we had a chance of winning. 

was the year before which we had a distinct Scottish party. Prior to 1965, we secured our best election results, including 1955, in which we won a majority of the Scottish vote - and remain the only party ever to have done so. 

is the percentage of more than a thousand Scottish voters who thought Scottish Conservative leadership candidate Murdo Fraser's plan to "develop a much more distinct Scottish identity with different policies from the party in the rest of the UK" would have a positive effect on the fortunes of the party in Scotland. 20% believe it would have a negative effect. The policy is popular amongst all age groups, but...

of young people (18-24) in particular think Mr Fraser's plan would have a positive effect for the party. Also, only 15% of youngsters thought it would have a negative impact. 25-34 year olds also give the plan a good endorsement, with 37% thinking it would have a positive impact. 

is the number of Scottish councillors who are supporting Mr Fraser's plan. 6 out of the 8 declared MSPs , the sole MEP, and MPs based outside of Scotland, including Sir Malcolm Rifkind, are also backing Fraser.


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