How the BPC conference saw the next election

How the BPC conference saw the next election

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Along with several other pb-ers I spent yesterday at the Central Hall Westminster at the British Polling Council conference on the general election.

As well as people from the site the partipants included academics, political journalists, civil servants, representatives from the parties as well as almost every leading figure in the UK polling industry.

Lots of ideas and data emerged which will be featured in future posts. Today’s piece is limited by me being away this weekend without my laptop or access to a broadband connection. This is being written on my mobile phone

A consistent conference theme was the relative importance in the electoral process of two words – “strength” and “charisma” , the qualities where, the polls suggest, views of Cameron and Brown most diverge.

Is Cameron going to suffer because voters have had their fill of a charismatic leader and will now warm to the different qualities that Brown offers?

Strathclyde’s John Curtice suggested that the main benefit from “charisma” might be in commanding media attention and being able to get your point through more effectively .

Tony Blair’s polling guru, Philip Gould, spoke of the great sense of renewal that the party felt because of the “pain-free” nature of the transition. I am sure that there is something in that.

Whatever there is going to be a mass of polls in the next few weeks. I’ll report more when I get back to my computer next week.

Mike Smithson

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