Election manifesto speeches: in the words of floating voters

Ben TobinYouGov PR Manager
April 16, 2015, 3:03 PM GMT+0

A YouGov focus group reveals what floating voters in Croydon Central think of David Cameron’s and Ed Miliband’s manifesto launch speeches

Following the publication of the Conservative and Labour manifestos, YouGov convened a focus group of seven swing voters for The Times to analyse undecided voters’ reactions to the speeches the party leaders made to unveil them.

The focus group found that David Cameron’s speech was greeted favourably. One Tory-leaning voter said the positive tone of the speech was reminiscent of the “American, can-do attitude”. Twenty-five-year-old Jerri, a first time voter leaning towards Ukip, welcomed the Tories’ pivot towards appealing to working people. She said that the Prime Minister was “looking to help everybody and not just one type of person.”

Ben, a former Labour voter swaying towards Ukip, said the Tory leader “sounded believable and like he believed what he was saying. It was straight to the point.” Labour-leaning voter Terry, a 46-year-old chef, added that an optimistic message was “a good one”.

The perceived positive nature of Cameron’s words were at odds with what some of the panel thought of Ed Miliband’s effort. They were turned off by his attempts to besmirch other parties. A Labour-leaning voter said Mr Miliband “seems a bit petty. He’s got to throw in a dig, he can’t help himself. It’s like a child with chickenpox.”

However, two voters said he did well, and a Tory-leaning voter thought the Labour leader was “a lot better, a bit stronger” than in previous weeks.

When it came to policies, Tory-leaning voter Michael was sceptical about the Conservatives’ proposal to reinvigorate right to buy policy and extend it to housing association homes. He said it was “unfair” that people in such properties should be granted the ability to buy them at a discount when others like him had saved up for a mortgage on a privately-owned house.

Ben, a heating engineer, expressed concern that the policy would mean “you lose council houses and people won’t be able to get one”. However, Jerri, a first time voter, said the policy would help poorer Brits “change their outlook. They might think, ‘if I could own my own house, I’ll go out and work for it’.”

With current YouGov polling pointing towards a hung parliament, agreements between parties may be necessary post May 7th. What of the prospects of a Con-Ukip government? Nigel Farage is well-liked by the floating voters, but several said they would like to see him “reined in” by another, stronger party. Terry said of Ukip propping up a Conservative-led government: “I’d be more comfortable with that. I don’t want the Tories in by themselves.”

The results of this focus group were originally published in The Times

Images from PA