Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Why are the Tories having so much trouble connecting with voters?

Only 9% of people think that that Osborne has made them better off compared to where they were under Labour

If the Tories were hoping that the better economic news that has come out recently would change public perceptions about them, then they were wrong. The table above is a collation of data from a poll taken by Comres yesterday and it was about attitudes of the public toward the current Conservative led government. The findings read ominously for Tories, who were hopeful that the economic turnaround would spark a revival in the polls for David Cameron and his party. For David Cameron, it has done- He regularly polls higher on leader ratings than Ed Miliband- But his party are still languishing and last year was unique for being the first year since 1995 that the Tories have not had a lead over Labour in any opinion poll all year. Why are they having such problems connecting with voters?

 For starters, the economic recovery has not been equal. This is a recovery that has been led by a Housing boom rather than any serious consumer led recovery. This has led to a vast improvement in fortunes for businesses and many multinational corporations, but for most working people, they have seen their wages fall in real terms. The opposition Labour Party has been making the argument about the "Cost of living crisis" and this has struck a tune with the public, who are seeing their wages fall and living costs increase, despite attempts by the coalition to deflect blame back onto Labour by repeating their "Labour got us into this mess" pitch.

Another big reason is the traditional perception of the Tories as being "The nasty party." This is a deep rooted problem that is unlikely to go away anytime soon. It goes back to the Tory problem of not being able to win in Northern Cities, and this is a problem created by Margaret Thatcher. Her "De-Industrialization" policy wiped out the Tories in Scotland, and ensured that they would struggle to win in Northern Cities, because the North was hit the hardest by her policies. Even now, many people remember Margaret Thatcher and feel completely betrayed by the Tories.  Many of these people will never vote Tory ever again, and it has led to a perception that they are "The Nasty party." It is why David Cameron and Boris Johnson regularly outpoll their respective parties, as the Tory brand is seen as being "Toxic" and at general election time, most voters tend to vote based on whether they want a Socialist Government or a Conservative Government, rather than on personalities, as they do in the London Mayoral Contest. Even amongst elderly people after their promise to protect pensions for them recently, alarmingly, the Tories are still regarded as being nasty, as shown by this poll:

This obviously makes the task for Labour much easier, as due to their past reforms they are seen as being "Compassionate" and the Tories are seen as being "Nasty" whether rightly or wrongly.

So, in the end, will the Cost of Living crisis win the economic argument, or will the economic boom and business community support for the Tories win it?
The truth is, I simply dont know.

There is only a year and a half to go. We will find out soon enough.

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