The ConservativeHome Members’ Panel’s January survey found high satisfaction levels with David Cameron’s leadership but it has also revealed that most members disagree with two of his key policy initiatives – on education and parliamentary candidate selection.
ConservativeHome asked 1,351 members what they thought of five key initiatives taken by David Cameron since he became leader at the start of last month. For each initiative we asked whether they agreed with the initiative and whether they thought they were good or bad politics. The results for each of the initiatives are set out below – in numbers and in charts. On the right is an explanatory graphic for the charts. The policies that score highly in the top right of the charts are rated in doubly positive terms: members agree with them and think that they are good politics. The policies that register high scores in the bottom left quadrant threaten to cause the Tory leadership problems with grassroots members. Such bottom left positioning suggests that members neither agree with the issue nor think that it is good politics.
More than twice as many – 44% – think it a disagreeable policy that is also bad politics.
Nearly three-quarters of Tory members disagree with this statement.
48% think it bad politics. David Cameron’s embrace of the pledge to wrongfoot Tony Blair’s education reforms has persuaded 49% to accept it as good politics, however.
Only 37% of Tory members agree with David Cameron’s 50/50 ‘Priority List’ – more details of which were revealed this week. 60% disagree with this policy and Bernard Jenkin and his team will have to work hard to win more grassroots support for this controversial proposal.
That support may come from the fact that 62% of members agree that the 50/50 list is "good politics" despite the bloc who personally disagree with it.
The hardcore opposition comes from the 33% of members who think it bad politics and contrary to their views.
David Cameron’s campaign commitment to leave the European Peoples’ Party was said to have been crucial to his wooing Cornerstone and other more Eurosceptic MPs to his colours during the leadership race. The ConservativeHome Members’ Panel result suggests that it may also be helping the grassroots to digest his other more controversial initiatives.
76% of members agree with the pledge.
20%, however, worry that the pledge might not be good politics. This fifth of members are, perhaps, worried about the vocal opposition to the policy of Ken Clarke and leading MEPs. A defection or two of a Tory MEP to the LibDems, for example, would certainly cause a political headache for Mr Cameron.
If Tory traditionalists might have been expected to support the EPP pledge there is less predictable good news for Team Cameron in the grassroots’ agreement with two of his ‘modernising pledges’
The New Year’s Day commitment.to stand up to big business is supported by 64% of members surveyed.
Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne must now work to address the concerns of those 30% of members who disagree with the policy. 30% opposition may partly explain an unfamilarity with the policy and a concern that it is anti-business. The Tory leadership must show that it is about championing freer markets and start-up businesses against the cosy and corporatist links between big business and government that have so poisoned American politics. If they can achieve this they will have found a ‘crunchy conservative’ policy that is in tune with the decentralised mood of our age.
69% think the suggestion is good politics.
The first act of David Cameron’s leadership was to establish the social justice policy group and he was using a speech to the Centre for Social Justice to promise to build ‘the nation of the second chance’ when this ConservativeHome.com poll went live.
A full 64% of members agree with the test but 33% do not. This 33% may reflect concern that the impact of Gordon Brown’s stealth taxes and public service failures have hurt middle income workers, too, and these should not be forgotten. A future ConservativeHome poll will attempt to explore the thinking of this 33%.
This ‘test’ pledge wins a very high 86% rating when members are asked if it is "good politics". Of all the five pledges put to the Panel this pledge was rated most highly on the "good politics" scale.
THERE WILL BE MORE PANEL RESULTS TOMORROW:
- Which shadow cabinet members are performing best and worst?
- Do Tory supporters think very differently on these issues to members?
VISIT CONSERVATIVEHOME.COM ON MONDAY FOR THE ANSWERS!