THE PARTY OF
Opinion polling confirms the
Conservative Party's brand weakness
New opinion polling by YouGov for The Times and The Sunday Times underscores the Conservative Party's continuing association with society's wealthiest members - and also with big business. Since the start of its period in government it is now perceived as being even closer to the rich.
The exact question asked by YouGov was: "Some people describe political parties as being close to particular groups in society. Thinking about the Conservative party, we'd like you to say how close they are to the following groups in society?" The numbers in the table below are the net figures. In the February 2015 survey, for example, 88% of people think the Tories are close to rich people and 3% do not - producing the 85% figure in the second row, third column.
The biggest changes during the last four-and-a-half years, however, come in the Conservative Party's closeness to older people and to women. The Tories are seen as much closer to older people than in 2010 – perhaps because of the decision to protect pensioner benefits and, more recently, introduce higher interest savings bonds for pensioners only. There has, however, been a similar deterioration in the Conservative Party’s closeness to women. The Labour Party has repeatedly argued that austerity has hurt women most.
This new polling confirms polling that was carried out for ConservativeHome.com in 2012:
Despite substantial efforts made by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government to ensure those with the broadest shoulders bear the largest burden of austerity measures, the perception that the Conservative Party is the party of the rich has, if anything, grown. The range of measures outlined in TheGoodRight.com's manifesto for the British Conservative Party would not only start to counter this perception the 12 draft ideas would also take the Conservatives back to their finest traditions – traditions associated with Winston Churchill, Harold MacMillan, John Major and initiatives during the Margaret Thatcher years, notably the Right to Buy.