Will 'Sam Cam' affect voting intention?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
March 30, 2010, 9:17 PM GMT+0

Despite their constant appearance in the press, it seems that the ambivalence surrounding the wives of our most prominent political leaders has continued even following the recent announcement of Samantha Cameron’s pregnancy.

Last week, this survey investigated the effect that the leaders’ wives’ popularity has on potential voting patterns, and found that many felt that the wives’ likeability has little to do with public perception of their husbands. The news of ‘Sam Cam’s’ pregnancy seems to have made little difference to this finding; while 31% of Brits say they are happy for the couple, more people (41%) feel that the news is really only a private, family matter, and three quarters (75%) see her pregnancy as entirely irrelevant to their perception of David Cameron. Another survey, for the Sun, has found 63% feel that having a young family makes no difference to a leader’s potential capabilities as Prime Minister. While slightly more women than men think that having a young family keeps leaders ‘in touch with real life’ (30% compared to 26%), it seems that this has little effect on voting patterns. Indeed, 14% say that even though they now see David Cameron as more of a family man, their voting intention remains unchanged.

Only two percent say that the announcement has enhanced their view of the Conservative leader as a family man and made them more likely to vote for him in the coming election.

Last week it was discovered that the presence of the wives in their husbands’ campaigns can even prove damaging to electoral success, and it seems that for a few, this is indeed the case – seven percent of the total, and ten percent of men, say that the announcement has changed their view of Cameron for ‘the worse’.

Most of these cite their suspicion of David Cameron’s future behaviour as the key reason for this change in perception – 75% feel that he will now use this as an electioneering ploy, believing ‘it's a little bit too conveniently timed as a boost to his popularity’. Ten percent call him ‘smug’ and seven percent (which rises to 12% among women) think he will use the pregnancy news as a boon to his much-debated family-centred policies, of which the ‘marriage tax’ has seen the most controversy.

For survey details and full results, please click here

Related story – Wind beneath their wings: Does the popularity of leaders' wives mean more votes for their husbands?