If you feel up to it, you can read my original post HERE
Now as you would expect, we are presently conducting a great deal of Voter ID work as we prepare for the forthcoming elections. Across West Kent we are inviting about 1,000 residents per week to share their views, on the doorsteps, by phone, email or post. As part of that process we ask "which three of the following issues will be most important in deciding how you will vote in 2015?" They are then offered 17 issues to choose from. If we are face-to-face on the doorstep, we hand them a laminated show card. The top five issues are
- National Health Service
- Cost of Living
- Care for the Elderly
- Opportunities for the Next Generation
- Britain's Deficit and Debt
And where is Europe on this list?
Well, I am sorry to say it comes joint 15th !
I write "sorry to say" because I am sorry. There is nothing I would like more than to be able to report that Europe is the burning issue in every house in Kent. But it isn't.
Sharing this analysis with a campaign group recently, one disappointed chap told me the reason it rated so low was it was 13th on the list and people were clearly bored reading the options by the time the reached it. Another thought it was because I had referred to it as The EU and not Europe, and this confused respondents.
To reassure myself of the validity of the fieldwork, I rewrote the response forms and show cards, I changed The EU to European Union and moved it to the second item on the list. And guess what happened? Nothing! The percentages didn't change!
This doesn't mean that people don't care. When we asked 20,000 residents of C&A if Tracey Crouch's vote against increasing the EU Budget made them more likely or less likely to vote for her, 87% said more likely and only 2% less likely (even 81% Labour voters supported her on this issue). So yes, people do care about Europe; by significant margins they support us on this issue. They want a better deal and they want a referendum. But they don't care about it as much as they do about the economy, health, cost of living, care for the elderly and opportunities for the next generation and almost everything else.
What is interesting, though, is the public's perception of our Party leaders.
Considering 56% of the respondents did not identify as Conservative, those figures should worry the Labour Party very much indeed.