Ashcroft’s Opinion Polls on the Lib Dems: What everyone missed
27 September 2011 2 Comments
Lord Ashcroft has done some useful polling on the Lib Dems in the last year and he has just completed some more which you may have read at LibDemVoice but there seems to be some really interesting data here which seems to have been missed by many – that a third of voters will vote for the Lib Dems if we get the message right. Of course it doesn’t spell that out but I believe there are some encouraging signs amongst the other data which will worry most.
Firstly, one question of interest is this:
And it is of interest because despite the low poll ratings there is still a clear identity in the population about what the party stands for. If 33% of people believe that the Lib Dems share their values then there are 33% of people who would potentially vote for them. Even more encouraging is that where we are doing well i.e. are in second place to the Tories (which also includes areas where we have had an MP) this figure increases to the point where we are the highest scoring party. This says that there is scope to increase this 33% in the future. However, this is not going to happen with the results in the other areas where we are clearly trailing Labour and the Tories by quite a margin. Which brings us on to the other interesting data Ashcroft has provided for us:
We can see some dire results here. So despite the fact that a third of voters (or more) believe that the party shares their values, this has not been translated into being seen to have a policy they believe would make the best difference – except for on the environment. So if we can do it for the environment then it is possible to do it for other policies too. I would love to have some data to compare this against before joining the Coalition, as Chris Huhne has been particularly effective in his brief on the environment. So is it that having a minister has helped the Lib Dems or is it that people had a high belief in the Lib Dem policy on the environment previously? I am guessing that Chris Huhne has helped. He has shown to be an effective politician and this was something that was commented on by Tony Blair in the leadership elections. So maybe Lib Dem ministers could learn a think or two from Chris Huhne and do more to help the party?
So there are a many potential voters out there who are not convinced on the Lib Dem policies in comparison to Labour or the Tories. So does being in Coalition Government mean things have changed and maybe people are thinking that the party has grown up and are now worth looking at? Apparently not:
So while the theory was that Government would mean Lib Dem policies could be implemented and the party would not be seen as a wasted vote, most people are moving away from the party. Theory and practice do not always meet in the middle. But that is not to say that they couldn’t. If we can do well on the environment with a dedicated minister then surely we can change what we are doing in the departments we are involved with to improve the perception issue?
There is a vast pool of potential voters out there who would vote for the Lib Dems if we get the message right. We have got the message right on some issues and we have been rewarded for this previously. We can do it again and we have the resources to improve where we are at. It is not good enough to say just give it time and people will come round – they won’t. We need to change what we are doing in the departments we are involved with now. Maybe we need to be involved in less departments and concentrate on a smaller number? This would at least concentrate the Lib Dem message. Currently we are spread too thin and the message is – ‘we don’t know what the Lib Dem message is’. Carrying on idly believing that things will get better because we are an optimistic bunch is not a strategy (see this question to see the Lib Dems more optimistic than others):