CF Poll 3: Your report

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November 12, 2013 by mmetcaa

Report write up

 conservative_future

First up, let me apologise for the slight delay in getting these results to you! I’ll get straight down to it and offer a brief analysis alongside my own verdict (for what it’s worth). I’ve given you a brief analysis, alongside tables (for you to make your own inferences). I’ll say it now, I don’t personally hold any grudges against people mentioned in my polls. I just want to ask the questions that everyone else seems to be asking ,on a much bigger scale.

It’s been a busy few weeks for CF and I felt it was time to ask questions about conference, alongside the new academic term recruitment drive.  For all those users of social media, there have been a number of stories surrounding various CF executive members; so I thought it would be worthwhile asking you to rate the main four, as well offering your verdict on the decision of Sarah- jane Sewell to stand for National Chair. With the help of the CF, I was able to generate a sample of 200 respondents. As per usual, due to a lack of resources, the paper survey relies on a sample of convenience as opposed to randomization. Although ideally I should like to have collected more responses, a sample of 200 observations does at least provide sufficient evidence for some tentative insights.

Of the 200 responses collected, 145 ( 73.2 %) were male compared to 53 (26.8%- the exact same figure as last time) 2 people chose to keep their gender anonymous (this option will be compulsory next time, so as to avoid people rushing through) As I’ve mentioned before, great efforts have been made to appeal to more female respondents, but I have to go with what I get!

Here’s what you said:

Did you attend the annual Conservative Party conference in Manchester this year?

 

Responses

Percentage

Yes- I attended the entire conference

89

44.9%

Yes- only part of the conference

16

8.1%

No- just an event outside the ‘secure zone’

6

3.0%

Did not attend

87

43.9%

Overall, conference (even in part) was fairly well attended by those in this sample. I knew there would be a split (I didn’t go either and have my own reasons), so I was eager to find out if others shared my reasons for not attending and to see whether for those that did attend, it had been worthwhile.

Of those that attended, here’s what they had to say:

If YOU ATTENDED the conference, please answer the following question: Overall, how did you find conference?

 

Responses

Percentage

I had a great time and it was money well spent. I can’t wait for next year!

70

59.3%

I had a good time but I didn’t feel it was value for money. I’ll think twice about going next year

20

16.9%

I didn’t think much of the conference and felt it was a waste of money. I very much doubt I’ll being going next year.

9

7.6%

I thought conference was a waste of time and money. I won’t be going again

6

5.1%

None of the above

13

11.0%

A majority had a positive experience and are looking forward to next year. A smaller minority were less keen!

I then asked what people thought of the main speakers, here’s what they thought:

IF YOU ATTENDED, which of the following speakers (if any) did you find to be the best?:

 

Responses

Percentage

David Cameron

16

13.7%

Theresa May

5

4.3%

Ian Duncan Smith

2

1.7%

Philip Hammond

0

0.0%

George Osborne

9

7.7%

Michael Gove

23

19.7%

William Hague

8

6.8%

Eric Pickles

4

3.4%

Boris Johnson

14

12.0%

They were all great

11

9.4%

They were all bad

4

3.4%

Don’t know

4

3.4%

None of the above

17

14.5%

With the exception of Philip Hammond (awkward), all have at least one fan! Michael Gove scored the highest with 19.7%.

The next question asked those who attended to rate, on a scale of 1-5  (1 being very negative and 5 being very positive), their overall conference experience. On this question, note both the percentages of answers selected and the weighted average:

IF YOU DID ATTEND, please mark your overall conference experience out of 5. 1 (very negative)- 5(very positive) 

 

1

2

3

4

5

Responses

Weighted Average

 

Out of 5

7
(6.42%)

7
(6.42%)

19
(17.43%)

37
(33.94%)

39
(35.78%)

109

3.86 / 5

3.86 / 5

Overall, most respondents found the whole conference experience positive ( I’m still not jealous) which will no doubt send the Fingerprint events group wild.

Turning now to those of you who didn’t attend, I asked why (respondents could provide multiple answers):

IF YOU DID NOT ATTEND, please answer the following question: What were your reasons for not attending the most recent Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester? Please select one or more of the answers below

 

Responses

Percentage

The conference ticket was too expensive

45

21.6%

I couldn’t get the time off work

15

7.2%

Academic commitments

40

19.2%

It was too far away

30

14.4%

I dislike party conference (I’ve been before)

6

2.9%

I failed accreditation

1

0.5%

I didn’t have anyone to go with

7

3.4%

The travel was too expensive

27

13.0%

I couldn’t find suitable accommodation

23

11.1%

I was on holiday

4

1.9%

Don’t know

1

0.5%

Other

9

4.3%

(I apologise for the layout and use of arrows)

From the above, most respondents cited academic commitments; the distance; the travel price and accommodation, as reasons for not attending this year. I personally fell into two of those categories. How students could afford those hotel prices is beyond me! (I’ll get onto that in a moment)

Moving on now to freshers’ fair recruitment packs. I for one have noticed a decline in the generosity of our masters over in Millbank and wanted to see if anyone else felt the same. Here’s what I found:

If you took part in a University freshers’ stand this year, please answer the following question. If YOU DID NOT, please select ‘not applicable’ and move on.  Thinking about the supplies given to you by CCHQ (central office) for freshers’ recruitment, which of the following sentences describe your opinion?

 

Responses

Percentage

The supplies were great! They really demonstrated what the Conservative party is about

8

2.7%

The supplies appealed to a wider variety of potential members

6

2.1%

I felt proud distributing the literature and handing out the goodies

9

3.1%

The supplies were handy and allowed me to engage further with potential members

27

9.3%

I didn’t give out any of the supplies out because I didn’t feel they represented the Conservative Party

15

5.2%

I was embarrassed giving out what was supplied but I did it anyway

35

12.0%

I would have liked to have seen a greater consultation process before these supplies were sent out

35

12.0%

They gave me far too much to give out

11

3.8%

They didn’t give me enough to give out

20

6.9%

Less literature… MORE FREE GADGETS

45

15.5%

Not applicable

77

26.5%

None of the above

3

1.0%

Discounting those that didn’t take part this year (some 26.5%) the overall impression of the packs isn’t particularly positive. Most weren’t comfortable giving out the supplies, with 12% not giving out anything because they ‘didn’t feel they represented the Conservative Party’.  Some 12 % also would have liked a greater consultation on what supplies were to be given out and some 15.5 % want more free gadgets (I always liked seeing CF bottle openers scattered around flat parties- particularly when socialists were using them)

Turning then to the overall performance of CF branches, we see a mixed bag:

Overall, how well did your CF branch do at the freshers’ fair?

 

Responses

Percentage

It did really well, we’ve seen our membership increase considerably

17

10.4%

Overall it went well, we have gained a few extra members

51

31.1%

It was satisfactory. The membership figures didn’t change

17

10.4%

Not well. We saw a drop in our membership

17

10.4%

Not applicable/ I wasn’t able to attend

56

34.1%

None of the above

6

3.7%

Aside from those that selected not applicable/ people who didn’t select anything, most (41.5%) reported back positively while 20.8% were not so happy with the overall performance. In future questions, I’d like to ask the name of specific branches, to see if we can identify a trend.

*Shameless plug*: Well done to my former colleagues at Essex University, who saw their membership increase for the third year in a row!

Turning now to ‘rate the exec’’   (a new feature), I wanted to see what you thought of our top four executive members (1- very negative to 5 very positive). The figures are interesting, to say the least:

 Below are a list of names for four National CF Executive members. Please indicate, if you can, how you view their overall performance in office so far. Please rate with stars (1 star being very negative- 5 stars being very positive) your overall opinion of the performance of the individual. If you don’t have an opinion on an individual, please move on to the next name.

 

1

2

3

4

5

Responses

Weighted Average

 

Oliver COOPER (National Chairman)

38
(19.59%)

20
(10.31%)

32
(16.49%)

39
(20.10%)

65
(33.51%)

194

3.38 / 5

Sarah-Jane SEWELL (Membership)

106
(56.38%)

26
(13.83%)

24
(12.77%)

12
(6.38%)

20
(10.64%)

188

2.01 / 5

Rob MANNING (Political)

59
(32.42%)

31
(17.03%)

38
(20.88%)

28
(15.38%)

26
(14.29%)

182

2.62 / 5

Ben CORBRIDGE (Best Practice Officer)

79
(45.66%)

37
(21.39%)

30
(17.34%)

17
(9.83%)

10
(5.78%)

173

2.09 / 5

Don’t know (all names)

6
(31.58%)

0
(0.00%)

4
(21.05%)

4
(21.05%)

5
(26.32%)

19

3.11 / 5

EXCLUDE *DON’T KNOW (ALL NAMES)*

2.55 / 5

Although some exec members have received less responses than others (it’s in a descending order) Oliver Cooper has not only received the most responses, but the highest approval rating (averaging 3.38/ 5) some 52.61% of those that responded think positively of Cooper (69.1% if you include 3 *satisfactory*) compared to 29.9% who think negatively.

This is in contrast to the remaining members, who have not performed well within this sample.  All three find a majority of respondents casting them a 1 (very negative), with Sarah Jane- Sewell suffering the most hammering blow, followed by Ben Corbridge. Although Rob Manning has a high quantity of people scoring him 1, his positive score (combing 3*) is at 50.55% compared to 49.45% negative. Sarah has scored an overall negative score of 70.21%, compared to a 29.79% positive score. Ben Corbridge follows closely behind with a negative score of 67.05% compared to a 32.95% positive score. Again, note the weighted averages of each in comparison to Cooper (they are  behind by quite some distance)

The next question turns to the decision of Sarah-jane Sewell to run for CF chair in the next internal election. I wanted to know what people thought about it taking into account the distance between now and the next election as well as what effect it might have on the CF as an organisation. Here’s what you said:

In a recent report by TBG, it was reported that the current Deputy Chairman (Political) Sarah- Jane Sewell had *announced* that she would be running for the position of National Chairman. The election shall be held in over one year. With this in mind, which of the statements best describe your view on her decision, given the distance between now and the next election? The report can be found here- http://www.theblueguerilla.co.uk/2013/10/tory-youth-wing-election-race-erupts-at.html and here http://thingselliottsays.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/breaking-news-sarah-jane-sewell-to.html

 

Responses

Percentage

It was the right thing to do to better her campaign

15

4.0%

It is the right thing to do for Conservative Future

12

3.2%

It will not impact her ability to serve within her current role as Deputy Chairman

21

5.6%

It was the wrong thing to do for her campaign

77

20.6%

It is not good for Conservative Future

116

31.0%

It will negatively impact her ability to serve as Deputy National Chairman

117

31.3%

Don’t know

9

2.4%

None of the above

7

1.9%

We find that 82.9% of people asked, view Sarah’s decision to stand at this time negatively. Most think the decision will be a direct threat to her current role as Deputy National Chairman, while a similar number believe the decision to be bad for Conservative Future.  Only 12.8% view the decision positively. These numbers are certainly not a good start for her leadership bid nor for her current position as Deputy National Chair.

Finally, I asked people what they thought of my polls. Here’s what you said:

And last but not least, what do you think about these polls?

 

Responses

Percentage

I think these polls are good for CF

92

23.3%

I like to give my opinion and these polls give me a chance to express myself

78

19.7%

I appreciate being asked what I think

71

18.0%

I think these polls are bad for CF

14

3.5%

I’d like to have more of a say in what you ask in future polls

20

5.1%

I complete your polls because I have nothing better to do

35

8.9%

I’d like to see you do more polls

46

11.6%

I don’t really care

33

8.4%

None of the above

2

0.5%

Don’t know

4

1.0%

 My view ( for what it’s worth) 

If the poll shows anything, it is that the respondents are not happy with the executive. As the 2015 general election looms ever closer, and the next CF election date remains unclear, how long must CF wait before its members can have a say on its leadership? We desperately need unity and Oliver Cooper needs the support of his executive.  Toytown politics is ruining our organisation and I fear it may put off activists off at a time when we need as many feet on the ground as possible. There is at present a clear divide between Cooper and his executive. Without unity, whether coerced or otherwise, CF can forget building the necessary activist base for 2015.
CCHQ also needs to understand that CF activists are not dutiful servants to be commanded and disposed of as it sees fit. We must be consulted on the literature put out in the name of our organisation. The fact that a handful of members refused to distribute leaflets on account of them being un-conservative appears a forewarning of damaging developments to come. I also fear the number of members is far greater (but that remains speculation at this stage). We should be focusing on attracting loyal conservative activists – not trying to appeal to people that would not vote for us under any circumstances and who would be of no practical use to their local parties. At a time when our party is losing members rapidly, CCHQ should focus on returning to conservative fundamentals.  After all, without a solid core vote an electoral win in 2015 is fanciful. If the last English council elections showed anything, it is that if you vote UKIP you get UKIP, and that if you do not vote you will get Labour.
I appreciate the views of those who responded positively to the question about my surveys. A lot of people ask why I do them. The answer is simple – no one else does. Grassroots members are seldom asked their opinions on internal matters, and I believe that the grandeur and distractions that come with national office can sometimes prevent the executive (whether of the CF or the National Party) from understanding the mood of the grassroots. I’d like to thank those of you who have gone out of your way to raise awareness of these polls.  It could not be done without you. So long as people keep completing them and sharing their opinions, I will keep producing them. I do not have any funding at present and have no intention (or likelihood) of obtaining any.  I therefore openly admit that the polls are far from perfect.  Nevertheless, they attract over 200 people a time which is a very positive response indeed. The more responses I get, the more likely ‘people’ are to listen. So please, continue keeping an eye on my blog for the next survey (whenever that should be).

graphs: http://kwiksurveys.com/tmp_pdf/report-E0AF2D083C734FCE8446F7A3403212F2.pdf

Enjoy the next few weeks!

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