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how are the percentges Calculated and surly the lbour party is moer left wing thenb Brown

I know little about polling, but wouldn't asking somebody to rate a party on a scale of + to - lead to a skewing of results? One is more likely to enhance positive result (ie right-wing) and to downplay a negative one (ie left-wing).

Thus I would imagine that people are less likely to give Labour an unfriendly-looking -50, but would think less of giving the Tories a +50.

I doubt this would be much of a problem, but if people think that the wording of a referendum question can skew a "yes" and "no" decision once in the polling booth, then this questionnaire seems flawed.

Channel 4 gets the answer it wants

The poll is correct - Cameron is to the left of his party. I could have told them this and saved them a lot of trouble.

Did they define "right wing"? Or "left wing"? Or did they leave it to the man on the street to give a gut reaction to the question?

At the risk of sounding like an unreconstructed right-winger myself, I seriously doubt that this poll is agenda-driven rather than scientific, and that the intent is to provide three shades of pinky orange to choose from at the next general election.

Very interesting points, Ali. You may be right.

How can anyone sensibly position Gordon Brown to the left of the Labour Party?

It happens so rarely and I can't imagine he cares: but am 100% in accordance with TomTom.

There's something I can't quite put my metaphorical statistical finger on that's utterly wrong with this methodology. I think it's asking the same person to rate how left wing (right wing) Brown (Cameron) is with respect to themselves, and then just averaging over all the people in the group, taking no account of where that person puts themself on a scale. That is, you would get very different results if you asked people to say how much further to the left (right) is Brown (Cameron) to YOU and average these differences. The "+1" is a sign that this hasn't been done. Do you see what I mean? It's pseudo-objective metrification of the political real line, which can only ever be relative to one's own viewpoint.

Where did those photos of Brown and Campbell come from. Certainly look more than a decade old.

I also wonder how right and left wing are defined. The fact that Labour are totalitarian and reactionary probably makes them seen as less left wing than they otherwise might. The reason we're painted as being further right wing is probably the hangover from the last election campaign when we talked about little else than immigration.

Going back to the 2005 election, remember, voters liked our policies until they heard they were ours. The recent spat about grammars did not affect the polls much until the "revolt" got going and the silly fools of the right claimed a U turn when it wasn't to purposfully damage Cameron. Voters see this and it is not the policies, in this case Willetts and grammar schools, which bothered them, it was the reaction within the party. A similar situation in the Labour party would have been dealt with more carefully and there would be no trumpeting of U turns. When Howard is happy to be linked with something called a revolt over closing Kent grammars when Willetts specifically ruled that out make people assume that the Tory party is full of unpleasent people who, however much you like Cameron you would be unhappy to vote for.

Also it lacks a gradient. On this 'scale', someone who is -100 is 10 points more left wing than someone who is -90; I am supposed to judge this distance the same in terms of political units as I would the distance between someone who is -20 vs someone who is -10. Well. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't. Actually I feel like despairing at things like this and what it says about the media 'elite' who set opinion in the UK.

There's one obvious finding for Tory strategists to pick up on and use: Ming the Rubbish should be attacked relentlessly. If he can be seen as only mildly leftwing then this is surely a not-tricky, worthwhile target to alter.

I would like to know more about the methodology. My gut feeling is that there is some validity in the idea. Most people like to think of themselves as moderate across the main issues, which are usually public services. I suspect it is right that most people see our party as quite right wing and Cameron less so. They probably do see the party as a potential brake on Cameron being in the same territory as them politically. Perahps more light could be casted on peoples political positioning by using a grid. I seem to recall an idea that involved 2 axes. Anyone remeber what that method was?


Can I make just one more thought-experiment post to hopefully convince the body of CH why this methodology is so crap? Now the pollster won't have done this: but imagine they'd carried out the poll only among demented Marxists from Hull (say). It would be possible for Cameron to come out as even more 'right wing'. Small anti-bias tweaks in the sampling methodology won't have fixed this inherent problem. There are at least 2 sources of uncertainty in this survey - which is itself is of something as nebulous as the position one places people on a made-up axis (it's not an axis of blood pressure or even something as fixed as 'how I would vote tomorrow': it's an imaginary scale which means different things to everyone who puts their answer in the box - like asking me 'How Blue Is The Sky Graeme? Is It More Blue For You Than It Is For Malcolm? Yes? Then You Are More Blue-Wing Than Malcolm). I can think it would make an interesting research problem but it doesn't tell us anything useful.

"Actually I feel like despairing at things like this"

Fortunately the rest of us couldn't give a toss over the scaling methodology Graeme, so don't lose sleep over it.

Logarithmic is just a dance to help work out difficult poo, after all...

Just weatching C4 now. It appears that voters in the south-east see Brown as much more leftwing.

The key finding you mention Tim is that Brown is seen as 30% to the left of Blair. These things are relative and Labour under Blair was centrist. Under Brown they are a left-wing party.


How does this Channel 4 Poll square with this YouGov Poll taken 13-15th June which shows people favour the third option - Neither of Them ?

It seems that the majority have no affinity with either protagonist

I think the poll is significant as favourable perceptions win elections. David Sergeant is of course correct that much of the 2005 policy agenda was likable until voters discovered the source of the policies! The major problem with the Lynton Crosby platform was the 'dog whistle politics' reveled in its own diviseness. Lets say that 70% of the electorate quite enjoyed the stuff about immigration. That doesn't mean people were going to vote on it as a single issue, and it certainly doesn't take account of the fact that tough rhetoric about proecting the borders can put off middle of the road swing voters. So perception polls like this show that Cameron has to keep slogging away.

C4's Gary Gibbon says that they'll be publishing updates on these questions at regular intervals. How helpful.

that much of the 2005 policy agenda was likable until voters discovered the source of the policies!

As I recall I drove along roas lined with hoardings of scrawled writing of some slogan and they alternated with Labour, LibDem and Conservative.........it was truly nauseating the trashy level to which political advertising had sunk.....and they blew £50 million on this crappy election !

I think everyone knows that the Tory party is still an unpopular beast. In many parts of the country there's not a hells chance of a Tory candidate being returned at elections - with or without the cute " we won't hurt you" green tree logo. True, you might say there are many parts of the country where there's no chance of a Labour candidate winning; but there are fewer of these latter areas than the former.

Conservatism isn't the problem - if it was then a majority of the electorate wouldn't be eurosceptics, in favour of restrictions on immigration and reintroducing capital punishment, amongst other things our stagnent political elite tells us are beyond the pale. The problem is the dead end brand that is the Tory party. Only a new movement that cuts across old party loyalties can succeed.

How do you explain the amount of councils we hold then James?

Andy, good points. I was canvassing hunderds of houses in 2005 and there was a clear message something like this:

Yes we agree about immigration but that doesn't mean we are going to vote Tory....We are interested in health and education but the party is saying nothing to help us on this.....We don't know what the Conservative party stands for...the ten issues are just slogans.

Younger professional people hated the negativity of the 2005 campaign and we needed them to add to our core vote in order to win. The balance was just all wrong. In fact there was no balance and no idea of what held it all together. There was no positive sense of where the Conservative party was going to take the country and how we were going to make the country a better place.

I've liked the Cameron approach because it is not like the 2005 camapign and it does try to build something positive and more moderate. When he concentrates on things like the NHS it wins support and when he tries to pull the issues together under a theme like social responsibility this attracts real interest from the public. What we really need to do now is unite all this substantively.

I would urge readers to look again at the manifesto this site produced and read it. So much of it is what DC is trying to do.


"How do you explain the amount of councils we hold then James?"

Conservative Councils tend to fuse value for money with common sense local environmentalism etc, promoting lower cost of services and thus lower council tax without shame or without having to spin everything into 'new politics' vision blah blah.

When was the last time a local councillor pledged to 'share the proceeds of growth' in a local election leaflet... yuck.

Of course the outcome of the poll is correct but we all knew that anyhow.

Actually I suspect most of the public know damn all about the party and Cameron. Most under-25s have absolutely no interest in politics whatsoever and their elders aren't much better.

I recall a poll years ago when Margaret Thatcher was PM. About 10% of those questioned thought she was leader of the Labour Party and the collective public savvy must have degenerated considerably since then under the impact of video games and other mind-numbing influenced.

If there is a feeling that Brown is 'left wing' that's not necessarily bad news for him. People are constantly telling me 'Blair's a Tory' and they don't mean it in any complimentary fashion.

There is a widespread view that Blair has turned his back on the Working Class. Hard to see how a 'toff' like Cameron could have capitalised on that feeling. Anyway he decided to play up to the ciabatta-eating class instead.

David Davis, of course, could have come up trumps.

The number of councils a party controls means bugger all in our system. All meaningful power lies in national elections to Parliament; and there, by and large, the Tories are a dead dodo.

As Traditional Tory points out, Cameron's entire pitch is to the "ciabatta eating" sections of society. By neccesity, it eschews anything as ghastly as appealing to the prejudices of those who shop at Asda.

We don't know what the Conservative party stands for...the ten issues are just slogans.

The first part of that 'response' I can well believe, but somehow I find it difficult to imagine householder after householder declaring 'the ten issues are just slogans' (true though that is)

When I used to canvass for the party the standard routine was 'I'm calling on behalf of X your Conservaive candidate. May we count on your support?' 'Yes', 'No' and 'I'll have to ask my husband' were the commonest responses. Has it really changed that much?

Exceptionally, I do recall once calling on a man who said 'I usually vote Conservative but I couldn't support your last candidate because he backed the return of capital punishment'

I had just handed him a copy of the flyer with the new candidate's picture on the front and I remembered with horror that on the back was a spiel in which he demanded the return of the rope.

I said 'I'm so sorry sir but I've got to hang onto that leaflet as it's my very last one' Fortunately, he handed it back without question, so hopefully we held onto that vote.

Younger professional people hated the negativity of the 2005 campaign

Putting aside the tree-hugging minority, younger professional people are like everybody else. They vote for the party which will put more money in their pockets.

We lost their vote through economic incompetence. Sad but true.

It is much, much easier to fight a constituency if you have a lot of councillors on your side. The number of councillors we have is very important. The reason we have struggled in some parts of the North is we lost the councillor base and people fell out of the habit of voting Conservative. When you get them back into the habit of voting Conservative at all elections then you start winning again. We are now doing that. This is basic stuff folks and anyone who has campaigned should know this very well. But then of course the usual culprits have another agenda...pull down the party with any negative comments possible. They are doing this when many of us are hearing from Labour councillors how worried they are about our progress!! You couldn't make it up!!


Sorry James, but I don't accept that as an answer. I wasn't talking about the power councils have, I was talking about the fact that local government wise, the vast majority of the country is blue. That is due to people going out and voting Conservative. In my own patch, we went from 12 councillors to 27 and took Labour from 21 to 5. That doesn't feel like a dying party to me.

I think you may have been reading a bit too much Peter Hitchins.

Traditional Tory:

Much as I supported David Davis in the leadership election. He LOST. He missed his chance. Constantly crying over spilt milk helps nobody.

David Davis has since shown his loyalty to the party by supporting David Cameron and spearheading the attack on the Labour Party's dismal Home Affairs performance.

Perhaps you might follow his example and if you cannot provide constructive criticism and support then perhaps you might consider staying loyally silent.

You never know you might then hear some of the stuff David Cameron has to say about liberty, democracy, localism and choice.

That is of course is if you actually believe in those concepts?

John 20.53 - Well said!

You never know you might then hear some of the stuff David Cameron has to say about liberty, democracy, localism and choice.

No doubt I would, John, were it not drowned out by the other 'Cultural Marxist' pap he has been stuffing down into our lugs since even before day one of his 'reign'

I am not interested in hugging hoodies, peddling pushbikes, or any of the other ridiculous stunts he has pulled since he appeared on the scene.

I don't regard myself as having anything whatsoever in common with Cameron, and I will be cracking open a magnum of champagne the day the party dumps him and installs a Conservative in his stead.

I think most people already know that, but obviously in your case the penny hasn't dropped.

Andrew Woodman: I don't dispute the recent council elections were a success for the Conservative party; what I question is whether it really matters. Who voted in those elections? Labour voters disillusioned with Tony Blair? I think not. Tribal Tory voters on the other hand will have - of them predominantly the elderly and party members who will vote for them come rain or shine out of habit.

So starting from this low base, yes, those elections were a success. But I wouldn't describe it as the start of any kind of Tory surge. Even if there was one, on present course all that would mean was Tony Blair Mark II - something that Cameron and Osbourne have openly admited they aspire to. I'm not surprised that Brown will shortly be ahead in the polls vis-a-vis Cameron; it doesn't matter whether he is objectively wrong on any number of issues, compared to Cameron he looks like a model of trust and reliability. Considering that Camerons is a connoisseur of the image before substance Blairite style you think he might have cottoned on to the fact that this image might win Brown a few Brownie points with a public fed up with all the spin and hucksterism of the last decade. But apparently not.

Think we'll have to disagree on ths one James. Must say, I think the idea that Brown is less of a spinner than Blair pretty incredulous.

The fact that voters think that the Conservative Party is more right wing than the leader is easily illustrated every day on this site. David Cameron is bringing in new voters to his fold with his 'progrssive' conservative politics and the party should get behind him or Cameron's 'light-weight' status will not improve because the party grumbles and he has to backtrack.

"The good news in that comparison is that Brown is now seen as 30% more to the left than Blair was last February."

YAY!! It's take us two years, but we've finally found something we agree on, Tim. :D

Good news indeed. Let's hope he lives up to peoples impressions :)

What I don't understand is why Cameron hasn't taken legal action against Andrew Pierce of the Telegraph for repeating his previous claim that he twice heard Cameron call himself the 'Heir to Blair' over dinner in October 2005.

Considering that Cameron unequivocally denied the claim a few days later, for Pierce to repeat it this month, he is effectively calling Cameron a liar.

Surely Cameron should put this shameless liar Pierce in his place?

The centre ground strategy is an old idea much approved of by media types like Portillo, which hasn't born much fruit for Cameron.

The idea was to target the centre i.e. nick Lib Dem voters and ignore the UKIP tendency, and hey presto, we'd be the new Blairlike centre party just as Brown lurched left.

PROBLEM 1. Does anyone actually know what left and right wing means in any detail?

PROBLEM 2. The Lib Dem vote is bombing, but the ones leaving the Lib Dems are not going the Conservative way. They must be going elsewhere.

PROBLEM 3. The big increase in voter intentions has consistently been to the minor parties - UKIP, BNP, Nationals and GREEN. Up from 8% to 14/16%. Lib Dem are down from 22 to 14% in the same period. labour and Conservative are not moving all that much overall.

All the traffic is in fact moving away from the 'centre ground', and towards parties that care about particular issues.

The Cameron centre ground sum was constructed from the idea that Conservative voters had nowhere else to go, and so the 'rightwing' could be safely ignored. All the advances would be made on the 'left' flank. If any Lib Dem have in fact been attracted to vote Conservative, an equivalent number must have deserted to the minors from inside the party. As an electoral strategy, the centre ground plan has not been profitable, and should no longer dominate Cameron's thinking.

The centre ground strategy has had the unintended consequence of demotivating almost all Conservative activists, and given the public the impression that Conservatives are far to the right of Cameron.

As Cameron has tried wearing Lib Dem clothes, it has brought a series of howls from his own party's ranks which have made the party seem more extreme. These howls were being inetntionally whipped up it seemed, to create the impression that the party was moving its policies a long way from where they were before.

Blair played the centre ground strategy to perfection, but the economy was doing so well no one really cared about policy details in 2001 or 2005. Interest rates are now rising fast as are prices and anxiety about world events. The times have moved on.

Traditional Tory:

Well as someone who has been Cameron sceptic for most of his leadership and considered leaving the party. Before I did I decided that I would take the time to understand what Cameron was proposing.

So I did, not by cherry picking headlines I did not like regarding my own personal hobby-horse policies or by listening to the increasingly inane, irresponsible hysteria in parts of the supposedly right-wing press (was that Melanie Phillips or was it really Alistair Campbell?) but by reading the party press releases and the actual speeches made by the leadership.

What I am beginning to see are the foundations of policies across the board that I can support and as such I am willing to listen further and contribute constructively to the debate.

What I'll agree with you on is that there is a need to drastically improve some of the presentation. However, if today is anything to go by some lessons may have been learnt.

Anyway, I'll leave you with one thought that whether Cameron wins the General Election or not he is changing thinking on policy within the party and whoever follows after is unlikely to return to the policies that lost the party three General elections.

You nor I will ever be able to change that.

Therefore, I suspect that Champagne will have a rather bitter after taste.....

And with that I am going tonight but I am sure we will lock horns again before too long!

Chelloveck, what makes you think Pierce is the one lying?

Pierce wasn't there but many wtnesses were. It was undoubtedly the strategy for cameron's team at the time.

And I think it was Osbourne who described Cameron as the heir to Blair.

sped - go and read Pierce's article:

"The phrase was uttered not once, but twice, by Cameron "

Fast forward a few days and Pierce claims

"When Cameron was quizzed about the revelation on the Today programme a few days later, he simply denied it, not once but twice."

So, considering that Cameron twice denied that he said such a thing, Pierce must be lying. This story has caused massive damage to Cameron, and for Pierce to repeat it this month, surely now is the time to act?

The one advantage of the centre ground strategy for Cameron was that it was a media approved strategy so it enabled him to get support from the Guardian and the Observer for example, and Channel 4 and other TV, while he was being pilloried in The Telelgraph. He needed to expand the party's media presence on gaining the leadership, and help the Conservative brand from being seen as the equivalent as social criminality! It has worked as a media strategy, but not as a psephological strategy.

he simply denied it, not once but twice.

Pity he didn't deny it three times before the cock crew.

Probably a whoopee cushion would have been more appropriate.

So that was what prompted Gary Gibbons question in Tooting. I take it back I thought he was merely a left wing hack trying to cause trouble.
I must say I'm quite suprised at the result as I do not see either myself or most mainstream Conservatives as being particularly 'rightwing'. Whatever the faults with the methodology as pointed out by Grame Archer I do assume that this poll was carried out by a reputable pollster so some weight should be attached to its findings and it puts into perspective the task facing Cameron and his team.
Remember 'most' people don't read the Telegraph or Mail but 'most ' people probably watch BBC news so what is not 'rightwing' for us is probably very 'rightwing' for them.

Remember 'most' people don't read the Telegraph or Mail but 'most ' people probably watch BBC news

Probably the main reason why the Conservatives are always at a disadvantage in a nation brainwashed by the idiot box.

This poll is really rather absurd. It measures how closely each party matches “the average voter's self-perception”, as if that were some formula for success. Unfortunately for Channel 4, the whole thing is undermined by the rather obvious reality that it is the least successful leader, Ming Campbell, who matches the average most successfully.

What I don't understand is why Cameron hasn't taken legal action against Andrew Pierce of the Telegraph

You are of course mad ! Cameron wants to implode before the media and be destroyed in court ? Your suggestion is so bizarre.

And the problem with being seen as right wing when you are a right wing party is...?

One thing you don't hear out here is members of the public protesting that Government Policy needs to be more to the left and certainly not that Tory Policy should be so.

You are of course mad ! Cameron wants to implode before the media and be destroyed in court ? Your suggestion is so bizarre.


I think he's being sarcastic, Tom Tom.

Actually all this poll tells us - if taken at face value - is that voters think Cameron is in the wrong party

Leaving aside the clear differences that many of the regular posters on this site clearly have with one another, I presume that we all want to see a Conservative government replace this current lot? Even a Conservative government with which we might not agree 100% (which is impossible for everyone all of the time!).

Given that, I also presume that most constributers on this site are sophisticated enough observers of politics and political history to know that dogmatic adherence to a belief to the extent of causing rifts that make a party unelectable (see Labour throughout the 1980s - many left wingers stuck to their guns and lost election after election) is not the way to win and form a government? There MUST be some compromise and pragmatic reshuffling of strategies to fit with the times.

What this poll clearly shows to me, is that 'looking right wing enough' is NOT the current problem with the Conservative Party. We are already viewed as being a strongly right wing party. So embracing the 'politics of and' - let Cameron continue doing the moderate, centre ground stuff and we may just pull in enough voters (from the right, and the centre) to win the next election!

Now - before I get torn up by those who believe that we need clear blue policies in order to win (ie, they don't agree with my paragraph 2 above). And those who will say that Cameron is the one not allowing compromise. Please please show a little room for pragmatic flexibility. We have fought and lost three election on a clear blue platform. It is time to try something different. That can't be done half heartedly. We should throw our full support behind Cameron and do all we can to win the next election, not bicker and gripe like so many are over individual policy disagreements.

Policies can change and evolve, even after we are in government. The Conservative Party is a large group with wide views on various topics. But the bottom line is - do you want us to be disciplined and professional and win the next election, or not? We can propose all the true blue policies we like from the opposition benches, and it won't make a jot of difference to anything.

For example - do you think scuppering our election chances will improve the likelihood of new grammer schools being built by Brown? NO. I would rather have a Conservative government not building grammer schools than a Brown government not building them. Because with a Conservative Government, the debate can continue, evidence can be brought into play, and the argument may well swing back the other way (in fact given the apparently overwhelming support for them, it is innevitable that it will eventually).

Labour got serious about winning elections in the 1990s when they realised that they could have as many lovely socialist policies as they liked, could hold meetings and conferences, pass motions...and it was all utterly irrelevent if they never got back into power. We need to realise the same ething. Disagree with Cameron if you like. But don't do so in a way that will keep Brown in power for another 5 or 10 years! That is really cutting off your nose to spite your face!

I would rather have a Conservative government not building grammer schools than a Brown government not building them

Well that about says it all doesn't it ?

"True, you might say there are many parts of the country where there's no chance of a Labour candidate winning; but there are fewer of these latter areas than the former. "

There are 90 local authorities without a single Labour councillor, compared to 19 without a single Conservative.

WRT your last point, James, I daresay you're correct. Taxation would probably be a bit lower under a Cameron government than it is now, and it's likely there would be no significant transfers of power to the EU without a referendum. I'm sure the Home Office would be more efficient under David Davis than it is today. And the hunting ban would be repealed. To that extent, things would be a bit better than they are now.

But I think that would be it. There's no reason to believe there would be any reduction in the amount of petty bureaucratic intrusion at every level, cultural marxism would continue to permeate every level of government, tax and spending would continue to remain at high levels (if slightly lower than under Labour), and we can be sure we would get masses of regulation in the name of protecting the environment.

Statistics with no actual meaning, without definition of terms then any figures relating to those terms are impossible to assess.

It's far better to ask specific questions over philosophical outlook and policy matters, and this would provide some useful information. As it is, all this exercise has done is to provide Channel 4 with some junk to put rubbish around and feed it to the general public as being news and current affairs; if people watch such a thing on the tv then they are wasting their time and the only beneficiaries will be Channel 4 gaining extra advertising revenue and those advertising on Channel 4!

Good post James but I think you're wrong if you think that all posters here would welcome a Conservative government. Some are completely unwilling to compromise about anything so if their brand of Conservatism is not on offer they would rather the party lost so they could stand and fume utterly impotently from the sidelines.

And the hunting ban would be repealed.
Fewer Labour MPs oppose the Hunting Ban than Conservative MPs who support it - this could well leave a vote being at risk from partisan issues of the smaller parties seeking to get concessions on other issues, even in the hypothetical situation of a small majority Conservative government it might involve reliance on the SNP, DUP and UUP to get the measure through.

We are never going to have a perfect leader, even our best ones dropped some real clangers. Also we are broadly going to have the same people in the party and most of us have to rub along together whatever happens. Cameron is keen, young and a good leader with broadly the right ideas and he's strikes me as the best one we've had in a long while. We are still ahead in the polls and we now have a serious number of councillors and councils. I think it would be sheer lunacy to even begin to consider being against Cameron. Of course he needs to learn things and of course he needs to resist (as hard as it is) losing his rag with the headbangers and to take people with him. Of course we need, all of us, to work hard to develop more substance round new ideas in the party. Of course we do, but at the end of the day I look at it this way - many of us will have seen a situation at work where we know a colleague is trying to achieve something and is okay but there are a small minority being negative. It is those times when we have to decide whether we do the decent thing and help. In this case help to construct the modern Conservative party that the vast majority of members and voters want. It won't happen automatically we all have a duty to help at whatever level. Call it give-and-take, can-do, whatever, but lets all get on with it and win this bloody election. I never could stand people who whinge on the sidelines, they are the flotsam of history and our party and the people of this country are worth much more than that,


losing his rag with the headbangers

Noone could accuse Matt Wright of being prejudiced and polarising.....

Matt> hear hear!

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