Tuesday, August 02, 2005

 

Policy Exchange report on Conservatives

The Policy Exchange has produced a remarkable report on the state of the Conservative party. It has very little text and comprises some 36 tables and graphs. It begins with a page marked simply 'the case for change' and then proceeds to make its case. We see how the party has 'flatlined' in the polls from late 1993 onwards with scarcely a peak thoughout the decade and halfway into the next. Those who claim party supporters have just not voted aree presented with a table showing 48% of non voters in 2005 would have voted Labour, 23% Lib Dem and only 21% Consrvative.

Another table shows how in 2005 only slight increases in the vote were registered in southern regions plus Wales and Scotland while in the Midlands and the North there were reductions. Those Conservatives who exulted at their 31 gains were reminded that 18 of them were won because Labour voters switched to Lib Dems and others and only 18 because Labour voters changed to Conservatives.

Those optimists who are waiting for Blair to go have to accept the evidence that his near certain successorm Gordon Brown is even more popular and hugely more trusted: polls show Labour with Brown as leader would have attracted 48% of the vote in 2005 compared with the 37% Blair managed. More worrying perhaps is that the well springs of the Conservatives' huge historical success are drying up. While the party had led Labour among ABC1 voters by 35% in 1974 and stayed at 30% plus until 1992, it collapsed to 5% in 1997 and sunk to 1% in 2005. Similar stories are told by a look at other key demographic groups like women and the 25-45 age group. Age profiles revealed that increasingly older people were those who voted Conservative; moreover while 67% claimed 'Britain was a better country to live in 20 or 30 years ago.' compared with 51% of non Tory voters. The threat of the Lib dems is illustrated by the 189 seats in which that party came second in 2005 compared with 109 in 2001.

The table on values shows 52% of voters felt that Labour and the Lib Dems 'shared my values' compared with 34% who said the same of the Conservatives. After this a devastating battery of evidence the rport confronts Conservatives with the bald statement: 'No Change, No Chance'. Talk about pictures saying more than a thousand words.

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