By Tim Montgomerie
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For those of us who spend way too much time immersed in the world of politics here's an interesting poll that Lord Ashcroft has just completed.
Nearly 1,700 adults were asked to write down any political events or stories that they could remember from the last few weeks or months. 41% couldn't suggest anything at all. All they could offer was the equivalent of a completely blank look. The Word Cloud above summarises the results in graphic form. Only two events were named by more than 10% of people: Andrew Mitchell's encounter with the Downing Street police and George Osborne's upgrade to a first class ticket. The numbers able to spontaneously mention any other political event were all below 10%.
Only 8% were, for example, able to mention the Scottish referendum.
7% could spontaneously mention child benefit cuts.
6% mentioned David Cameron's energy policy remarks.
5% mentioned the recovery in GDP.
4% mentioned the party conference season.
3% mentioned the pressure for an EU referendum.
2% mentioned the badger cull.
1% mentioned the Cabinet reshuffle.
Later this morning I'll publish the results of the second half of the poll in which a different sample of voters were presented with a list of political events and asked which of them they could remember. This first half is nonetheless interesting as an indication of which events are impactful enough to be remembered without any prompt. The answer is very, very few.
Just one extra thing to say for the moment, however. Just because voters remember an event it does not mean they think it mattered. Come back at noon for those results. In the meantime read Lord Ashcroft's article on the poll, in which he briefly previews the other results.
Comments on this thread are closed so that our discussion takes place all under Lord Ashcroft's piece.