Friday, September 30, 2005

Unpicking The Recognition Factor

We have always recognised that right now Ken has a higher recognition factor than DD, and yes, he's popular, even if it's in an Arthur Daley sort of way. What we've disputed is that his popularity would actually translate into election winning votes: polling evidence suggests otherwise.

So we were very interested to see the YouGov poll in this week's Spectator. Their new angle was to give respondents fuller information about each of the four leading candidates, so as to level the recognition playing field. They conclude:

'Without the immediate advantage of recognition, Ken Clarke was no longer the front-runner. Once the public were given pictures and information about candidates they may not previously have been familiar with, David Cameron and David Davis became the candidates who most increased people’s likelihood to vote Conservative.'

On the face of it, good news for DD and DC, and closely echoing that Sunday Telegraph focus group finding way back in May (doesn't that seem a long time ago).

In fairness, we do have to recognise that the YouGov poll was not what you might call scientific. The fuller information provided on each candidate was not consistent across candidates- there was a large measure of subjectivity in deciding which points to mention and what wording to use.

But it's difficult to argue with Anthony Wells' overall assesment that "important finding of the poll is that Ken Clarke’s lead really is just down to increased recognition - tell respondents about who the other candidates are, what they look like and some of the things they stand for, and they too can be just as popular".

What this once again underlines is that we should definitely definitively categorically not be driven by recognition factor polling in picking our leader. Despite what Ken might want to argue to the contrary.


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