Last month we circulated Voter ID Surveys to various groups in Chatham & Aylesford, where the incumbent MP is the excellent Tracey Crouch. I was interested to test respondent's perceptions of Tracey's various votes against the government on tuition fees, Europe, circus animals and badgers. The details of each issue was set out unemotionally, followed by the simple question, "Does this make you more likely or less likely to support her, or does it make no difference?
The answers did not surprise me, apart from the issue of the proposed increase in the EU Budget, where the level of opposition was more overwhelming than I anticipated. Even Lib Dem voters, who are the most Europhile of all, supported Tracey Crouch's vote against additional EU funding by a margin of 76% to 16%.
As luck would have it, one of the local branches in Chatham & Aylesford had invited Dan Hannan to fund raising lunch in April. I obtained permission from the local branch Chairman and sent a speculative invitation to a sample group of two-hundred Eurosceptic respondents who lived nearby, asking them if they would like to attend. Much to my surprise twenty of them (10% of the sample) have already responded and purchased tickets!
In an era when all major political parties seem to have abandoned the hope of returning to a mass membership based organisation, this gives me hope. To actually have 20 people, none of whom are previous members or donors, or have ever attended a party function, to respond positively to a mailshot, demonstrates that when we talk to traditional conservatives about the issues which matter to them, they are still willing to not only listen but also respond and participate.