As promised I’ve looked at the rest of the YouGov poll which was published in this morning’s Telegraph.

The measures released on Saturday showed little evidence of progress in the way the Conservatives were viewed – that the proportion of people thinking that the Conservatives had a new vitality and freshness had fallen should be little surprise, David Cameron has been leader for 10 months, his leadership is no longer quite so new. Neither was the drop in the proportion of people thinking the Conservatives had increased their chances of winning the election a particularly bad sign – early euphoria after leading in the polls was always going to fade.

The most negative sign was that the proportion of people thinking the Conservatives now reflect Britain’s values and aspirations better than before was dropping, from 36% in February to 31% now. In contrast, the proportion of people who said it was difficult to know whether there was any substance behind David Cameron’s words or that he seemed to flip-flop too much both remained static.

Monday’s Telegraph has some further questions, asking why people thought the Conservatives were not doing better (strangely the Telegraph chose to show both the overall figures and those of Conservative supporters, when arguably it is more important to know why those people not supporting the Conservatives object to them!). The most frequently cited reasons chime very much with the earlier questions – people don’t know what the Conservatives stand for. 58% of people said they thought the Conservatives were stalled because people didn’t know what a Cameron government would actually be like, 46% cited the anonminity of the rest of the shadow cabinet, 40% said “despite David Cameron’s youth” the party still looked old fashioned, 42% said people still didn’t trust the Tories to look after schools and hospitals. In the eyes of the public the main reasons that the Tories are not advancing is that they are still too vague, and haven’t yet done enough to convince people they are different.

It’s also worth noting some of the reasons that didn’t come out highly. Explanations that can be roughly grouped under the heading of “not being right wing enough” were some of the least cited, and it appears as though people citing these reasons where more likely to be voting Conservative anyway – only 23% thought the Conservatives were doing badly because they had “gone soft on Europe”, 25% thought it was because they weren’t promising tax cuts, 25% thought David Cameron was banging on too much about the environment. David Cameron’s background was also only seen as a minor factor – 25% of people thought the party was being hindered by Cameron being “a toff”, in this case though existing Conservative voters were far less likely to cite it as a reason.

Cameron doesn’t seem to have made any further progress in repositioning the Conservative party either. On a scale of -100 to +100, with -100 being extreme left wing and +100 being extreme right wing Cameron was at +34, almost unchanged from February’s +35 . The Conservative party as a whole was at +50, very similar to February’s poll which asked the slightly different question of Conservative MPs in general, but got the similar answer of +53.

UPDATE: The Taxpayers Alliance also have a short poll out that found 46% of people would be more inclined to vote Conservative if they believed that the Tories would cut taxes. As Danny Finkelstein rather angrily points out it doesn’t say that people would be more likely to vote Conservative if they promised to cut taxes, which is a slightly different question. I would add a different caveat to the question – polls asking if X would make you more or less likely to vote for party Y are difficult to draw any conclusion from unless you can eliminate people who won’t or will vote for the party regardless. If the people who say X would make them more likely to vote Y, would actually vote Y anyway then it’s meaningless (equally so if they are actually going to vote Z, whatever Y promises). It is better to provide the options “more likely”, “less likely”, “no difference -would vote Y anyway”, “no difference – wouldn’t vote Y regardless”.

UPDATE 2: For those waiting for Populus’s monthly poll to see if that has a similar conference boost for Labour…it isn’t out until next week.


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