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Tim, I wouldn't be surprised if a significant minority of those 334 are "rogue elements" (that is, not Conservative supporters at all)

Iain, by that token there's no guarantee that the Conservative members polled are members and not rogue elements...

This seems sensible, supporters but not members are clearly waiting to be attracted more firmly to the party and as Cameron has said today we have a "mountain to climb". We've only just taken the first steps.

I wouldn't be surprised if a significant minority of those 334 are "rogue elements"

As one of those 334 I wouldn't be surprised if what you've just posted is absolute nonsense. In fact, I'm quite sure of it. I'm sure even Lib Dem supporters have better things to do...

As James points out, if you were a "rogue element" why wouldn't you claim to be a member?

My thoughts were along the same lines as Cllr Iain Lindley's comment.

Why wouldn't they claim to be a member?

The sample is too small to be reliable. That is not a criticism, just a statistical fact.

"Why wouldn't they claim to be a member?" - Richard

They might have replied twice - not impossible.

That's not the point. Cllr Iain Lindley was suggesting that somehow the supporter results were unreliable because of "rogue elements". If I were a "rogue element", I'd pretend to be a member.

However, as Selsdon man points out, the sample of the supporters was too small to be reliable.

I quite like Iain thinking I'm a 'rogue' Rich and that our opinion even though we bother to take the time to give it is too small and unreliable to give credit to. Believe what you want I do.

If not being a Cameron sycophant makes me a rogue, I'm perfectly happy wih it too.

"I quite like Iain thinking I'm a 'rogue' Rich and that our opinion even though we bother to take the time to give it is too small and unreliable to give credit to. Believe what you want I do."

I'm glad to know I wasn't the only person a bit put out by the unspoken (presumably not deliberate) implication that, as mere supporters, our opinions are second-rate and not worthy of the same consideration as members.

For the record, I tried to renew my party membership via the website last summer, but unfortunately, there were 'technical problems' every time I tried to get my details processed - has anybody else had similar difficulty trying to make the conversion from lowly supporter to member?

I keep meaning to join Daniel but I haven't got round to it, so I'll give it a go.

But for now I'll remain a lowly supporter

Last time I tried to join on the conservatives.com website they wouldn't accept my bank details. Bastards!

... But for now I'll remain a lowly supporter

Lowly "rogue element" surely? ;-)

Tom, post a cheque to your local association. At least they will know about you. Those who have joined centrally complain that CCHQ is slow to pass on their details to local associations.

For information:

The "members" on the Panel were largely recruited for ConservativeHome by careful emailing of groups that work within the Conservative Party and by emails sent out by the Davis and Cameron campaigns during the leadership contest. Furthermore the list accurately (only out by 1%) predicted the leadership race outcome.

Nearly all of the "supporters" on the Panel have self-selected and may or may not be representative.

Thanks, Selsdon. I might just do that...

Ed., are you counting us as self-selected if we received an invitation to take part in the survey via your newsletter? I thought part of the idea was to extend influence beyond the relatively narrow group that is the party membership to anyone who considers themselves a conservative. Hence this site's enthusiasm for the idea of open primaries. Am I wrong?

That is the idea Tom. ConservativeHome believes in a more open Conservative Party. The days of mass membership are over.

You may have took part in the survey following my newsletter email but you self-selected yourself onto that newsletter.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's as important for this site to reach Tory supporters as members but I have to attach a health warning to poll numbers when the sample is small and I have (as yet) no way of checking that the supporters on the Panel are representative of all Tory supporters.

I hope this helps.

Fair enough. I take your point about the small sample size. I don't really see how you could check if we are representative of Tory supporters as a whole, if that requires a poll of all Tory supporters to compare your results with as you've done with members and the leadership election result. There isn't going to be such a poll.

I'm going to talk to some polling experts Tom on how to check representativeness. If we ask similar questions to those asked by other pollsters of Tory voters, for example, we might be able to test how representative the Panel is. I'll report back in due course.

I assure you that the opinion of supporters does matter to us but it's important for the sake of the authority of the Panel we proceed professionally.

Thanks for raising the issue.

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