By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier today Patrick O'Flynn noted – quite fairly – that the comments below this Patrick Mercer post were almost universally negative about David Cameron. Patrick tweeted: "If comments at end of ConHome piece about Mercer r at all representative of Tory grassroots then Cam is in big trouble."
Well, Patrick, they are not representative. Periodically I ask that comment threads be judged for the quality of arguments they contain rather than as a test of the grassroots temperature. A better guide to the mood of Tory members is provided by our monthly polls. If you read some ConHome threads you'd be forgiven for thinking Cameron had the support of very few members. In reality 72% are satisfied with Cameron's performance as Prime Minister and just 28% dissatisfied. That number comes from a survey taken four days after the rebellion of the eighty-one. Nearly 2,000 members took part. It's not a brilliant result for the PM but it's not awful and only a little poorer than the ratings he's got for most of his time as Tory leader.
Tory voters seem to be fairly but not very satisfied with the PM. Today's YouGov/ Sunday Times poll (PDF) finds that 91% think he's doing well and only 8% doing poorly. This suggests a divergence between members and voters although my guess is that most voters who think Cameron is doing poorly are likely to float away while members are likelier to stick around for longer but grumble while they do. It's also interesting that of the voters thinking Cameron is doing well, 76% say he's doing "fairly well" but only 14% say he's doing "very well". That equals broad but not enthusiastic support.