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« Daily Mail: "Cameron backtracks on drugs downgrade" | Main | Heffer versus Cameron (a continuing series) »



Remember that in each case you have to solve a 3 by 3 linear system of equations, and not a 2 by 2 system, because you have to include the undecides.
What this seems to show is that the undecides haven't made up their minds yet.

On the other hand Cameron can take heart from the fact that the undecideds haven't changed their minds. This suggests that nothing significant has realy happened over the last ten days (which is an opinion that as an impartial Empirical Scientist I would have to agree with) and that the QT debate is not dirrectly responsible for the swing back to Davis. This usually happens after any sharp rise or fall on on the stock market, know as the Dead Cat Bounce. So it's not entirely unexpected...


Well, the Telegraph/YouGov poll appears to show a gaping chasm has been reduced to a very wide gap. Among the members I have spoken to I have encountered former wavering Davis supporters now firm in their support, and some former Cameron supporters now wavering. I wonder how representative that is.


The Cameron supporters who are now wavering that I've spoken to say the QT debate changed their mind.

John Coulson

It would be remiss of me not to attach a few, so far overseen, caveats to the debate. It would seem to me that a large number of DC's supporters are likely not to have a vote. In the YOUGOV poll they respondants are only described as "Conservatives". In this contest that difference is crucial. Also I think that it is likely we will have seen some respondants replying they will vote DC but actually voting DD, just as we saw happened with the new fashionable New Labour inthe 1990's. We have a sophisticated electorate - ignore this at your peril!


Are you sure that is true about the YouGov poll, that they don't ask if you are a member? And if that is true, how do you explain its accuracy in predicting the outcome of the 2001 contest to within 1% of the final result?

John Coulson

I just stumbled across this on the BBC website:

Mr Cameron later told a meeting in Winchester, Hampshire: "What people want is a realistic and sensible policy that gets to the bottom of the drugs problem."

He wanted to see ex-addicts going into schools to talk about the dangers of drugs and tell of the difference between substances such as heroin and ecstasy.

Mr Cameron said that this was a "tough" drugs policy, adding: "Frankly I do not care what other people think about it."

He doesn't care what others think about it? I hope he does, petulance seems to be a congenital defect of DC. Does he care what others think of his tax, criminal justice and pensions policies? Probably not, he doesn't have any.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Are you sure that is true about the YouGov poll, that they don't ask if you are a member? And if that is true, how do you explain its accuracy in predicting the outcome of the 2001 contest to within 1% of the final result?

Fortunately for YouGov, John is incorrect. I've been asked several time in the past by YouGov surveys if I am a member of the Party, and I'm as certain as I can be that today's poll was members-only.

Wishful thinking or deliberate misinformation on the part of Mr Coulson, I fear.


Amusing comment Sally - DC won the debate on QT.

Not even his strongest backers believe that.

Come on I know you can admit when your man was beaten on the night!

John Coulson

That is rich coming from you Cllr! Considering you posted a quote (strangely supporting your views) from a former PPC who you would not name!

Also it is worth noting that the Editor had to remove a post from you last week because it was untrue, slanderous and very provocative. I think your track record has something of the 'throwing stones at glass houses' proverb to it.


Are you sure that is true about the YouGov poll, that they don't ask if you are a member?

Think about YOUGOV, just like any other pollstering PLC has to maintain a certain degree of accuracy in the limit as it tends towards the outcome (to maintain its credibility). But it also has to get clients when the outcome is still unpredictable.
Thus when the final Poll is published its not actually paid for by anyone, it's just the final poll that proves that It can predict the outcome if is was asked to do so, but then it wouldn't make any profits by doing so.

Cllr Iain Lindley

I'm not aware of any comment of mine being removed - I'm sure the Editor will happily clarify.

In any case, given the fifteen abusive messages you posted on my blog - some of which were clearly libellous - there's only one person throwing stones in glass houses here.

"some of which were clearly libellous"

In the sense that they caused you no loss of earnings or reputation...

Cllr Iain Lindley

Editor can we have an IP check on the previous anonymous post please?


This is supposed to be a thread about an opinion poll. Can we focus on that? I'll ban the IP address of the next person to talk about Iain Lindley.

James Hellyer

Well, can I say that the poll makes no sense at all. The majority says that David Davis came over best on Question Time, but then says that David Cameron comes over best on television. Besides making me wonder inf these people saw Cameron wriggling in front of Jon Snow the other night (and he's hardly an attack dog interviewer), it makes me think that people missed that Question Time was on television.

Or is consistency beyond this panel?

Barbara Villiers

I wonder if Sally is living in a parallel universe? DC lost hands down and people who are totally neutral agree.

The truth is Cameron can only excel at a set piece. As for 'plants' you can be rest assured that both candidates had them.

Did you notice his petulance both during the debate and after - when somebody criticises him, it's all 'I don't care what you think'. Well, haven't we had that enough with Blair?

As for Davis only having 1/3 of MPs support let me tell you this about MPs - they'll go wherever the going looks good. A lot of the late comers to the Cameron band wagon now look very disconcerted - none of them want to be seen supporting a busted flush.

Boy Wonder had better get this through his head - having gone to Eton and Oxford doesn't make him leader by divine right.

Of course the media have a huge part to play in this too. Hacks who had been Davis supporters turned over night - not because Davis' speech was so bad or Cameron's so good - but because it was a great story and the British press like to see themselves and king-makers and king-breakers. No doubt some were considering it pay back for slights (imagined or otherwise) from the Davis camp.

I wonder how many MPs and hacks are still secretly in awe of their 'betters', who still have a sneaking wistful admiration for old Etonians?

Interesting too how the old boys' network sticks together. Heathcoat-Amory and Fatty Soames come to mind.

Cllr Iain Lindley

I have to say the comments about the "old boys' network" and "betters" are all terribly Old Labour...

Barbara Villiers

Cllr, I am being ironic!

Maybe being half yank I have a great deal more time for self made people than for those born into privilege who then behave as they ought to rule by divine right.

And before anyone else mentions it I know that many American presidents have come from the privileged class but that does not mean we have to ape that in addition to having a damn Starbucks on every corner!

James Hellyer

"old boys network" isn't old Labour, it's old Conservative!

Ian Bruce

I agree with earlier comments that David Davis came across better on Question Time than Cameron.

However I think its really important to think about exactly what it was that Davis did that seemed so good.

What Davis did was make very specific pledges on exactly what he would do, something that some people believe is a good thing even though it is 4 years before the next election.

He knows he's not likely to win but also knows that the closer the election result the more pressure will be on Cameron to include him in the shadow cabinet and the more likely he is to be a contender if there is another contest.

Cameron on the other hand has to assume that he is going to win and start appealing to the rest of the country. The country expects us to reflect and come back with genuinely innovative solutions. This is the process that David Cameron can start, using the themes he has outlined.

The crisis would be if Davis actually won the election. It would provide easy ammunition for Gordon Brown and Labour to tear us to shreds at the next election. With proposals to cut a third off income tax I can already see their posters now "Tories would close one third of schools / hospitals" etc.

As a young Conservative in Scotland (there are a handful of us left) I strongly urge members to unite behind the new future of Conservatism David Cameron and not fall for these selfish tricks from David Davis


So Ian as a Conservative you advocate running a fellow Conservative down? Its funny how the Davis camp get accused of running their opposition down - yet you feel the need to call embark on petty name calling. What exactly is the selfish trick Davis has suggested? Is it selfish to focus on the bottom 25% of society as he advocates?

Isn't Cameron advocating a tax reducing policy as well?

Jonathan Sheppard

Ian as a party members I think we should aim our weapons at the opposition - which is Blair and Brown not fellow Conservatives.

Its hardly helpful calling a Conservative member of the Shadow Cabinet selfish is it? By all means push the positive aspects of DC - and there are many - but there is no need to attack DD.

Roger Helmer MEP and myself had a great debate on who should be leader at a party event today in Lincoln and I have to say it was very good natured and I urged all those attending to ensure that as soon as we get a new leader we all unite behind them.

Lets not go down the road of silly name calling - as it really does our party no good.

James Hellyer

"With proposals to cut a third off income tax"

Not true. It was 8p of the base rate if income tax, or 3p and 2p cuts to income and corporation tax and the scrapping of CGT and IHT. And those were used as illustrative examples only.

Barbara Villiers

Hear, hear Jules!

Selfish tricks? Like what? Being better than Cameron?

He never said he would cut a third off of income tax - he said (and meant) tax in general and that could mean income tax, inheritance tax or any of the 66 stealth taxes imposed on us by Labour or any combination of the above. The principle is that a low tax economy means more employment and THAT pays for public services, not to mention re-forming them so they function a la 21st century. I'd pit Davis against Gordon Brown any day of the week and it won't be David getting his nose broken again.

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