David Cameron must focus on traditional values and policies if he wants to win the next election, finds major new poll from ComRes. The poll found high levels of support for traditional conservative policies including a cap on immigration, which was backed by half (49 per cent) of those surveyed. A referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU and a reduction in fuel duty also received considerable support with more than a quarter (27 per cent each) of voters wanting to see this commitment in the parties manifestos.
The re-introduction of control orders (21 per cent), longer jail sentences for criminals (21 per cent), cuts to income tax levels (17 per cent), abolishing the Human Rights Act (16 per cent) and tax breaks for married couples (12 per cent) also received support. Legalising drugs, plain packaging of cigarettes and the introduction of tobacco style warnings on alcoholic products received the least support. When asked about these polices, just one in 20 (5 per cent) backed legalising drugs, while less one in 25, (4 per cent) favoured the extra restrictions on tobacco and alcohol.
The most unpopular though was cutting spending on public services including the NHS. This was backed by just three per cent of those surveyed. The poll was commissioned by Grassroots conservatives, a non affiliated conservative campaign group, whose membership includes many current and former Conservative Party members, including current and former councillors, association officials and candidates.
It is being published on the eve of the party conference season, along with an open letter to the Prime Minister from Gc chairman Robert Woollard, which is being copied to all Conservative Party MPs Grassroots conservatives are holding a fringe meeting on British Values at the Conservative Party Conference on September 30.
Grassroots chairman Robert Woollard commented: “The poll results are absolutely clear. Mr Cameron should ditch all the so-called progressive leftie nonsense that those around him think will win him votes and focus on more traditional Conservative values and policies. Capping immigration, cutting taxes and a referendum on Europe are policies that are supported by a large number of the electorate. They are vote winners.
“Left wing policies that CCHQ seem to think are a way of getting Lib Dems and Labour voters to support him should be jettisoned as at best they have marginal/negligible support and at worst are driving voters into the arms of Nigel Farage, who scored well in the poll.”
In a further blow to the Prime Minister who pushed modernisation of the Conservative Party as the cornerstone of his leadership bid in 2005 and is likely to make personal character a central tenant of the forthcoming campaign, when asked which character traits applied to the party leaders more than half the public (55 per cent) agreed with the statement that Mr Cameron was “out of touch with people like me”. Four in ten (41 per cent) thought he was arrogant and the same number (39 per cent) said he was “not trustworthy”.
It was not all bad news for Mr Cameron. When asked who would make make a good Prime Minister a third of voters (32 per cent) said Mr Cameron, 11 points ahead of Mr Milliband (21 per cent) and 20 points ahead of Nick Clegg (12 per cent).
Just one in eight (12 per cent) thought Mr Cameron was lazy, compared with one in five (20 per cent) who thought Nick Clegg was lazy. Just one in four (24 per cent) saw the Conservative Party leader as weak compared more than four in 10 (43 per cent) who associated this trait with Ed Milliband and half (50 per cent) with Nick Clegg. While a third of voters (31 per cent) saw Mr Cameron as someone who “has the ability to get things done” compared to less than one five (18 per cent) who said this about the Labour leader and one in 10 (10 per cent) of the Lib Dem leader.
Mr Woollard continued: “The Prime Minister is clearly seen as a natural born leader who can get things done."
The poll also found that up to four in 10 (39 per cent) voters might vote Conservative, the same number (39 per cent) as those who would consider for Nigel Farage and UKIP. Slightly more, (45 per cent) would consider backing Labour, while less than a quarter (23 per cent) would consider voting for Nick Clegg.
Mr Woollard concluded: “We all know that the next election will be overwhelmingly fought on the issue of who is the best person to run the country, not about how our country will be run. This is because there is an absence of policy, with the three main party leaders sounding remarkably similar.
“This is why I hope the Prime Minister takes note of our poll. In addition to finding that there is everything to play for in terms of next year’s General Election, it found that the PM has many positive characteristics. If Mr Cameron can ally this to genuinely traditional well-proven conservative policies and values he could still win an outright majority in Parliament and not split the Right vote.”