Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tribes and chiefs in the UK

The latest political poll in the UK (commissioned by the BBC) doesn't offer much solace to political leaders, to the smaller coalition partner, or to the loyal opposition.

This analysis was done by Adam Fleming of the BBC.

Poll shows what voters really think about politicians
Apart from the - admittedly very fun - personality stuff, the poll also found that a majority of people trust David Cameron and George Osborne to manage the economy over Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.
Worried leaders. Can you name them?
Of those polled, 58% opted for the Tories and 42% favoured Labour as stewards of the nation's finances.

But this is not your common-or-garden opinion poll. The Daily Politics and the World At One have been given access to the unique model being used by Populus.

It is a departure from traditional methods which use measures like age, class, or income to carve up the electorate.

Instead it divides the country into six segments, based on attitude and worldview:
  • Comfortable nostalgia: voters who are unhappy with modern Britain
  • Optimistic contentment: happy, secure people
  • Calm persistence: hard-workers feeling the pinch
  • Hard-pressed anxiety: voters who are stressed about life
  • Long-term despair: those who feel left out
  • Cosmopolitan critics: voters who would criticise the government whoever was in power

Populus found that David Cameron is perceived more positively by the people who feel most secure…

Voters who worry about the future are more likely to say the prime minister is "arrogant" or "out of touch".

55% of the long-term despair category and 66% of the hard-pressed anxiety group said they would prefer Labour to manage the nation's finances.

But all groups - apart from cosmopolitan critics - used words like "weak" or "out of his depth" to describe the Labour leader, Ed Miliband…

"Nick Clegg comes out of it pretty badly across the board. His most popular adjectives are out of touch, weak, out of his depth and that really doesn't change across the segments," says Rick Nye, managing director of Populus…

To my eyes, two big things stand out.

Firstly, voters tend to choose very negative words to describe politicians... 

Secondly, the gap between the Conservatives and Labour on the issue of the economy is narrowest among the Calm Persistence group, which is the biggest segment of the electorate.

It suggests this group is where the next election will be won or lost.

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

Just The Facts! is a guide to the big ideas you need to review for next month's exam.

What You Need to Know is a thorough review of comparative government and politics as described in the AP curriculum.

What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original and v2.0 are now available to help plan review sessions.

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