Over on the YouGov website I’ve an article about what people recall from the Conservative and Labour manifestos. One of the reasons manifestos don’t usually matter is, put simply, that most people don’t read them. The reason policies don’t really matter is that most people are largely unaware of them. The way to judge a manifesto is not whether people approve of the policies in them, but whether people approve of the policies that they actually noticed.

At the start of the week YouGov asked people an open ended question, asking without any prompting if they could remember any of the promises that Labour or the Conservatives had made in their election manifestos

For Labour there were clear cut throughs by positive policies: 32% of people recalled the promise to axe tuition fees, 21% remembered promises to increase NHS funding, 20% recalled promises to nationalise the railways, Royal Mail or National Grid. All of these are policies which polling has found the public generally support, and which are relatively clear and easy to understand.

For the Conservative party only one policy was recalled by more than one in five people – the changes to care funding (which was often described as dementia tax, or taking old peoples homes, or similarly negative terms). In contrast to the simple and popular policies that people recalled from Labour, the one cut-through policy from the Tory manifesto was both unpopular and complicated. The next most recalled policies were going ahead with Brexit (recalled by 12%) and means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance (10%).

Of course even when people do recall policies, that’s not really what they vote on – voting behaviour is much more about the broad perceptions of the parties, what they stand for, their leaders and their perceived competence. There are clear signs that the poor Conservative manifesto launch fed through into that.

Before the manifesto launches 35% of people thought the Conservative party’s policies seemed well thought-through, 38% did not. A week later only 19% think their policies are well thought-through, 54% do not. Contrast this with the positive impact of Labour’s manifesto. Before their launch only 25% of people thought they had well-thought through policies, now 31% of people do.

When a key plank of the Conservative party’s offering to the country has been the claim that they are the strong and steady party of competence, the drop in the proportion of people thinking they’ve well thought-through policies for the country should be worrying for them.

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163 Responses to “What people noticed from the manifestos”

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    I do not see how,, in terms of electoral support, performance or outcome of opposed policies on Brexit will emerge. The negotiations so far appear to be toxic to TM’s leadership, measured by media and public perception of her relations with Tusk and Juncke, or by expert assessment of the exchange of trade and movement of goods and labour with the EU for global or Commonwealth ITO based arrangements – and the real effects of Brexit will increasingly be apparent, and won’t be subject to dismissive explanations.
    Labour’s position of wish to retain migration at its current trend levels, working and human rights within an EU framework, and reform of the CAP and fishing regulation, and to build economic policy around these and related retention of EU ties seems the height of political and economic reason by comparison, and likely to capture the democratic socialism and cultural internationalism of an increasing cohort of young supporters which will continue post the 2017 GE and througout and beyong Brexit.

  2. I can hardly believe these two polls, obscured by several false messages of polls, having been watching the exciting Saints-Wigan game.

    The many predictions here have largely been wrong, and I forecast a busy weekend, deep inquests and more U-turns.

    What is it that has turned some voters? – my hunch is the Tory cut-backs to the police and the regular proclamations of being the party of low tax. Versus Labour`s tax more and have more police and a greater chance of catching potential terrorists.

    Oh, and I do feel sorry for Jason Robinson`s son – failure on a high ball with 5 minutes to go turned the game, though he was brilliant earlier, much like his Dad.

    Labour`s late advance has a parallel in Saints comeback.

  3. Astounding.

    Can TM pull it back?-what does she have to do?-does she know what she has to do?.

    My guess is -no.


  4. Is it too late to make my prediction? If no I’d like to go as such:

    CON 42
    LAB 37
    LibDem 8
    UKIP 3

  5. Given the rather populist Labour Manifesto compared to the unpopular Tory one (they believe that they are likely to be in government), I wonder if these narrowing poll leads are resulting from a renewed “Shy Tory” or even “Angry Tory” effect as a result of the unpopular “dementia tax.” On June 8th, many will cut through the noise and make a choice between Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott, Thornberry or May, Hammond, Rudd or Johnson in the high offices of state. Just as they have done for most elections in the past.

  6. This is a really interesting poll in that the Conservative VI barely budges, all the movement is in Lab.

    Previous poll in brackets:

    Con 43 (44)
    Lab 38 ( 35)
    LibDem 10 (9)
    UKIP 4 (3)
    Other 6 (8)

    Who are the others the Lab people are pulling votes from? Greens? SNP?

  7. “Jeremy Corbyn will suggest that Britain’s military involvement abroad is to blame for terror attacks such as the Manchester suicide bomb.

    The Labour leader will point to “the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home” in a speech in central London on Friday.”


    Well it is consistent JC stuff. Stop the War Coalition Playbook.

    Is it a GE winner in the UK?

  8. COLIN
    “Chaos approaches for UK.”

    Be honest. Which chaos would you or the BOE,OECD and IMF prefer? The muddled and uncharted attempt of a May,Davis,Boris trimvirate to maintain the UK economy outside the EU or the Single Market,, or a Corbyn or consortium led technocratic government within? He is, after all, not an entirely untested leader and has, so far, shown no signs of economic unorthodoxy or lack of support for the international framework of trade and the maintaining of international security and peace.

    One thing is for sure – no prime minister will go for a snap election in this way again.

    Given how lacklustre May has been from day 1 of her PM ship, perhaps she really did never want the job, particularly with the minions she has been lumbered with and a Brexit she didn’t want. Could she be doing it deliberately?


    Since the quote you refer to from me is now an Ex -Quote-a Deceased Quote-a Quote which no longer Exists -I am unable to respond.


  11. @RICH

    “anybody planning to protect their assets yet??!”


    Lol, the people, society, are your major asset. Most people would gladly sacrifice their house to a paramedic to safe the life of a loved one if necessary. Happily, paramedics do not charge the earth for their services. I could mention the bankers who took down the economy at this point, but obviously that’s too much reality in one go…

  12. @Colin

    Quotes linger in the Aether you know…

  13. Candy

    There is a lot of partisan tosh on here at the moment .

    a. The Tory vote is rock steady at about 44%. The Care manifesto issue is one for the anoraks.They are not changing, melting away etc The tory crisis is rubbish. The only question they need to be addressing is how to get 2% (probably female voters) extra. 45-46% would be an excellent result.

    b The labour vote is the interesting one.The gap with the tories has only narrowed because Labour polling has improved. Kantar have identified the group that has made the difference. That group is previously undecided voters who did not vote in the 2015GE,These are now breaking for labour and saying that they will vote.The Flakiness of this group will decide the Tory majority.Any doubts about JC will IMHO unduly effect this group both as to VI and likely to vote.By definition they are more politically passive and subject to change.Betting on labour has the feel of the Clint Eastwood question.
    c.On the day: tory 45;labour 34.

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