The results are in:

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August 8, 2013 by mmetcaa

So, my second CF survey. I have always been interested in knowing what people actually think within the CF. The subject remains relatively under researched . I’m not going to try and spin or offer much of a commentary on the results (i’ll leave that to aspiring journalists) Most of the results speak for themselves.

There were 183 full responses within the sample. The survey was promoted by myself, CF activists and a number of MPs. It was designed and published by Kwik surveys, free of charge (which explains why it’s taken me ages to work  through the results.   This entry will focus on giving an overall analysis. Later on in the week I shall run a series of cross tabs to give a greater break down of the results.

So without any more time wasting, lets get on with analyzing the results starting with basic demographic info:

Gender

Of the sample of 183, the sample is predominantly male with men attributing 75% of the input. Females represent a mere 25%. Never the less we can have some fun with measuring gender on later questions. It would be fair to say at this point therefore, that while useful, it certainly does very little to give us strong indicator of what female CF members think.

Age

16-18: 17.5%

19-21: 31.1%

22-24: 28.4%

25-28:15.8%

29-30: 6 %

Not much can be said for the age category.  If you are using this survey to take a guess at which age groups are most active (that’s if taking part in this survey means a member is ‘active’) 19-24 lead the way by some margin. I can only assume that it is within these years that members are more likely to be involved with a University branch, as opposed to their local association.

Location (by region)

Without flooding this section with numbers, I’ll offer a rough overview. Responses are most high within London (normally the case) with some 25 % of the overall data. This is followed by the South East (11.5%), the North West (10.4%), Yorkshire and Humber (9.8%), East of England (9.3%) South West (7.1) and Wales (6%). Then at the much lower end we have Northern Ireland (5.5%)East and West Midlands (4.9% each) North England ( 2.7%) and Scotland at 1.1%. The only possible indicators are that a) it was amongst the higher ranking area that CF groups are most popular b) said region promoted this poll the hardest c) This poll was promoted by an MP within that region.

Are you member?

94% of those polled were members as opposed to just under 5% who are not. This is not surprising given that the survey was promoted as a CF members poll (sounds obvious I know) although some respondents may not have been aware that they automatically qualify for CF membership under the age of 30. Alternatively, the 5% may be disaffiliated members of CF.

Did you vote in the recent National Executive Election?

Yes: 67%

No: 31%

Most of those polled voted in the last round of CF executive elections. This is not surprising given that those who voted, probably are more likely to answer surveys relating to the party. 31% however did not vote and this figure should not be dismissed.  The next set of questions may help to justify this figure.

Did you favorite candidate for National CF Chair win?

Yes: 40%

No: 36%

Don’t Know/ Did not answer 24%

Of those that responded, 40% stated that their favourite candidate for Chairman won (in this case, Oliver Cooper) compared to 36% who had not voted for Oliver. There remain a significant number who either did not answer or who were unaware of who had actually won the election (12% each)  Therefore, going into this survey, Oliver was in marginally safe territory… but have attitudes towards his leadership changed?

Opinion of Mr Cooper

Oliver is doing a great job: 26%

Oliver hasn’t had enough time to assert himself but I think he’ll do well: 31%

Oliver has done little to impress me so far: 22%

Oliver is doing a bad job:12%

Don’t know: 7%

Overall

In favor:58%

Against: 34%

Don’t Know/ Did not answer: 7%

It appears that a majority of respondents are happy with Oliver’s progress thus far or are optimistic about his future. These figures will no doub make Mr Cooper smile, given recent  reports of dissatisfaction towards his leadership among members of the CF National Executive.

Attitudes towards the recent CF executive elections:

 Fair:18%

Unfair:14%

Boring: 21%

Exciting: 12%

Slanderous: 44%

Good for CF image: 6%

Bad for CF image: 49%

Made me want to get more involved: 29%

Made me want to get less involved 20%

The candidates were largely unique: 20%

Note that respondents were asked  to pick up to a maximum of three statements. Generally, people viewed the elections in a negative light which may help to explain why voting participation is at an overall low.  This figures may alarm both the party and the national executive.

There are a number of outside Conservative blogs that report on  numerous stories and issues that appear popular among CF members. Which of these blogs (if any) have you visited?

Blue Guerilla: 67%

The Backbencher: 46%

Gossip Tory: 19%

The Old Lion: 21%

London Spin: 35%

Conservative Companion: 12%

All of them: 16%

None of them: 9%

Clearly, CF related blogs have made some impact. Blue Guerrilla and the Back Bencher clearly being the biggest. Note that in comparison,  Conservative Companion is a relatively new blog.  A quick check up on each of the blogs reveals activity to be much higher  on the two that poll the highest.  But what do their readers actually think…

Most positive blog

Blue Guerilla: 12%

The Back Bencher: 8.2%

Gossip Tory: 3%

The Old Lion: 4%

London Spin: 6%

Conservative Companion: 8.2%

Don’t Know: 20%

None of them:34%

Overall, most participants  believe none of the main blogs to be of any good to the CF image. However there are pockets of support for the bigger names. With this in mind therefore, it only seems fitting to work out which blogs people think the least of…

Blue guerrilla: 51%

The Back Bencher: 5%

Gossip Tory: 2.2%

The Old Lion: 2.2%

London Spin: 10%

Conservative Companion: 1.1%

Don’t Know: 20%

All of them: 4%

The blue guerrilla, despite being the most read is way ahead in terms of portraying the most negative image of CF. The others trail way behind with more respondents being unable to select a particular blog.

Issues:

Cutting public spending: 34%

Tackling Welfare fraud: 8.2%

Reducing Immigration:12%

Reforming the NHS:6%

Increasing the size of the Military:2.2%

Lords reform:2.7%

Withdrawing from the EU:12%

Campaigning to stay a member of the EU:1%

Protecting the environment: 1.6%

Fox Hunting:1.7%

Increasing Foreign Aid:2.2%

Decreasing Foreign Aid:1.6%

Reducing Unemployment:8.7%

None: 3.3%

Right wingers within the party will no doubt be smiling to themselves with these figures.  Of the abundance of issues, slashing public spending remains the most popular issue amongst CF members followed by reducing immigration and withdrawing from the EU. Tackling Welfare fraud and reducing unemployment also appear slightly popular with other issues, including the environment and Lords reform dragging far behind.

I next turned to asking what CF members felt fellow younger voters between the ages of 16-30 (not politically affiliated)  felt most strongly about. The results are as follows:

16-30 issues

EMA:11%

Gay Marriage:22%

The Eu (for):4%

The EU (against)15.3%

The War in Afghanisatan and Iraq:7.1%

Votes at 16: 7%

Lords reform:7%

Electoral Reform:2.7%

Tution Fees:8%

Unemployment:32%

The minimum wage:57%

Cuts to public spending (for)15%

Cuts to public spending (against)14%

Immigration: 9%

Crime:20%

The Police:16%

Legalization of drugs (for)20%

Legalization of drugs (against)2.7%

Protecting the environment:3.3%

None of the above:1.6%

When asked what 16-30 year old voters find the most important issues, we see an interesting range.  The most striking being, the minimum wage at 57% followed at some distance by unemployment, the legalization of drugs (for) and gay marriage. Overall the results reflect some obvious differences between the perceived views of independent 16-30 years olds and Conservative Future members.

Turning now to the reasons why membership to the CF might be low:

Too expensive to join:1%

Conservative policy is unpopular among maj of younger people:7%

Most young people find politics boring:13%

Some members of CF may put others off from joining:20%

Not many young people know what CF is:5%

CF fails to offer enough social events:3%

CF is too political:2%

CF lacks a clear political message:2%

CF does not provide enough opportunities to members:2%

CF is too London orientated:11.5%

There are no real benefits to being a member of CF:14%

The party expect CF to campaign and offer little in return:15%

CF does not run any significant national campaigns: 4%

 

These answers made me chuckle somewhat. Most members believe other people within the CF are likely to put others off from joining! This will no doubt cause a bit of a debate within the national executive.. Also as popular explanations for low membership and in involvement are that the party fails to offer members anything for their efforts (29% when you combine no benefits and little in return).

Now turning to perceptions of UKIP and the 2015 general election

UKIP serious threat, adopt more right wing approach: 22%

UKIP may be a threat, consider altering our position on some issues:30%

UKIP not a threat, maintain current position:32%

UKIP not at all threat, ignore them:10%

Don’t know: 4.4%

Overall, most members believe that UKIP does pose a threat in 2015 but differ somewhat in the way in which the party deals with them. While 22% opt for a total right wing approach, 30% believe that only some of current stances may need shifting to the right. 32% do not think we should change while 10% think UKIP are no threat whatsoever.  Overall a mixed bag!

But how likely are CF members to jump ship to UKIP? This should be interesting given the number of reports of defections up and down the country in the recent months.

I will be joining UKIP:5%

Very likely: 7%

Likely:8%

Unlikely:15%

Very Unlikely:16%

Never join UKIP:47%

Don’t Know: 1%

Although there is definitely a whiff of defection present within the CF, overall members are not attracted to the idea of jumping ship to UKIP.  This will no doubt be of disappointment to UKIP but is by no means ideal for the Conservatives.  Thus far, although the CF does support slashing public spending, reducing immigration and withdrawing from the EU, they remain predominantly comfortable within the Conservative Party…at least for now!

But what about Young Independence. I noticed that they recently attempted an image change no doubt in a bid to appeal to a broader number of young people. Lets see how CF view the YI attempt to broaden out:

Yes, will appeal to much broader range of young people, including politically apathetic: 16%

Yes, but only younger people on the right:10%

Like CF, they will struggle to appeal to young people:20%

No, they will not appeal to young people:8%

No, they will appeal to a small minority:37%

None of the above:3%

Don’t Know:3%

With this one, you’d expect there to be somewhat of a bias against YI given that we’re polling CF membership. Nevertheless,  there is somewhat of a concern among CF members that YI may appeal to a broader range of younger people, more specifically the apolitical masses. 20% agree that YI will have an equally hard time recruiting young people while some 37% think they will appeal to a small minority.

Almost there….

CF attitudes towards party leader and Prime Minister David Cameron:

Cameron strong leader, will lead party to outright victory in 2015:17.5%

Cameron somewhat strong, but not sure if he has what it fully takes to win in 2015:42%

Cameron somewhat weak, worried he may cost us 2015:16.4%

Cameron weak and will not win in 2015:16.4%

None of the above:5.5%

Don’t know: 0.5%

While some believe Cameron is strong and the best person to secure outright victory in 2015, some 42% believe that Cameron is somewhat strong and are sceptical about his ability to win outright in 2015. Some 32 % (combined) think Cameron is weak/ somewhat weak and unlikely to win us the 2015 election. Again, very interesting results!

And last but by no means least,  I wanted to get a rough idea of what internal political grouping participants felt more closely aligned to. The aim was to try and see if previous answers could be explained by where about participants may place themselves (be it subconsciously) on the Conservative  spectrum.

Conservative Way Forward:31%

Tory Reform:11.5%

Bright Blue:9%

Young Britons’ Foundation:26%

The Freedom Association:25%

None of the Above: 39%

There is an obvious preference amongst participants in supporting more right wing factions within the Party with CWF leading the way. More liberal Conservative groupings appear less popular while overall a majority of participants do not affiliate with any of the above.  Could this explain the previous results? I wouldn’t bank on it. Internal groupings within the party remain relatively unheard of  by a large number of party members.

So overall an interesting set of results I’m sure you’ll agree. In a nut shell ( and I may be told off for this by critics of Anthony Downes)  from this sample, CF appear firmly on the right of the Conservative spectrum taking preference over slashing public spending; reducing immigration and withdrawing from the EU over other issues.  There is concern over Cameron’s leadership and doubts about his ability to win in 2015- though by no means a universal doubt. While UKIP is viewed somewhat of threat, CF members dismiss the opposition Young Independence as being a viable alternative and most remain loyal to the Conservative Party. Members also feel the party does little to reward them for their hard work and that the CF faces somewhat of an image problem. There is however a strong wave of support for the current CF chairman.

I shall be adding a further breakdown of results throughout the week by means of cross tabulation. There are some interesting points that have yet to be discussed (i.e where Oliver Cooper generates most of his support base from and gender differences on the political issues. …)

Feel free to PM me any questions you may have.

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