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July 30 2005: When Dave was recognised by just 6% of voters

July 30th, 2009

Looking back at the Populus poll that’s four years old today

Just four years ago today the Times published the findings of an online poll in which those participating were presented with a series of pictures featuring prominent politicians, asking who they were and what their job was.

To put the political situation at the time into context the end July 2005 voting intention polls had:-
YouGov CON 31: LAB 40: LD 21
Populus CON 28: LAB 40: LD 22
Ipsos-MORI CON 28: LAB 41: LD 25
ICM: CON 31: LAB 39: LD 23

The Times reported its “politician recognition” poll in these terms:-

Michael Howard, the outgoing Tory leader, is the most recognised Tory face, with 82 per cent correctly naming him. More people aged over 65 (81 per cent) recognise him than David Beckham (79 per cent).

Of the possible runners, only Kenneth Clarke has as many people recognising him correctly as not (50 per cent). Well over three fifths of those aged over 65 and professionals and managers know who he is.

Roughly three in ten recognise Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Mr Davis, and Sir Malcolm is helped by being known by more than a half of Scots, since he was an Edinburgh MP for 23 years, as well as Scottish Secretary. Theresa May is recognised by 16 per cent, including three times as many men as women. She is often confused with Tessa Jowell, sometimes with Patricia Hewitt and occasionally with Ruth Kelly.

Mr Cameron is recognised by just 6 per cent…”

Although Howard had announced that he was going the Tories were then involved in an internal scrap over the precise rules for the election of the leader. David Davis was the heavy odds on favourite to succeed.

David Cameron, as we all know, was elected Conservative leader on December 6th 2005 and has undoubtedly gone on to become the most dominant political leader of the era.

Whatever your view of him you have to concede that taking his party to the point where polls are suggesting a landslide is an amazing achievement which Labour, the Lib Dems and even segments of his own party are still struggling to come to terms with.

Mike Smithson

***On PB2 – Morris Dancer on the return of Schumacher