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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Almost two-thirds who intend to vote Conservative will do so mainly as a vote against Gordon Brown and record of Labour Party, poll suggests

Almost two-thirds (64%) of those who intend to vote Conservative at the next election will do so mainly as a vote against Gordon Brown and the record of the Labour Party, according to an opinion poll carried out by ORB for BBC Two's Newsnight.

The poll asked: "Which of the following three statements best describes why you will vote or are leaning towards the Conservative party in the General Election?"

Seventeen per cent said their vote was mainly a vote against Gordon Brown and 47% that it was mainly a vote against the record of the Labour party. Just over a third, 34%, said their vote is mainly a vote for David Cameron and the Conservative Party.

The poll also showed that half of people, 50%, think that David Cameron would make the best Prime Minister, compared to 23% for Gordon Brown and 11% for Nick Clegg.

A clear majority, 59%, of people also had a favourable or very favourable opinion of David Cameron with 39% having an unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion of him.

Gordon Brown had almost the reverse of that reaction with 38% of those polled having a favourable or very favourable opinion of the Prime Minister and 61% having an unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion.

Asked about a series of traits and policy areas, David Cameron and the Conservatives out-polled Gordon Brown and the Labour Party in almost all of them.

More of those asked thought David Cameron is "providing strong leadership" (51%) and "Will be tough on Crime" (51%) than Gordon Brown, 21% and 18%, and Nick Clegg, 10% and 9%, respectively.

David Cameron and the Conservatives were also ahead amongst those polled on who has "definite plans and goals for Britain's future" (43%) and "Will prioritise families" (42%). Gordon Brown and the Labour Party were 23% and 24% and Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats were 12% and 15% respectively.

But on two issues that seemed to matter greatly to those polled – the economy and the NHS – findings were much closer.

Thirty-four per cent of those asked said Gordon Brown and Labour would stand up for the NHS, with 33% saying that of the Conservatives and 13% of the Liberal Democrats.

On the issue of who will stand up for ordinary people in an economic crisis, Labour and Conservatives were also neck and neck – 31% said Gordon Brown and 30% David Cameron, with 18% saying Nick Clegg.

But asked who they would trust more to fix the economy, those polled gave David Cameron a slight lead with 35% saying the Conservatives and 32% saying the Labour Party and Gordon Brown; 11% said Nick Clegg.

The opinion poll is part of an exercise conducted for BBC Two's Newsnight for the conference season.

Newsnight has invited American pollster Cornell Belcher to find out what the public in the UK make of their politicians.

His fourth film focussing on opinions towards David Cameron and the Conservative Party was shown on last night's Newsnight (5 October).

Cornell Belcher employs many of the polling techniques he developed when working for the Democratic Party and Barack Obama ahead of last year's Presidential election.

On his first visit to Britain, Belcher was teamed up with British pollster Johnny Heald and his research company ORB who carried out the polling and organised the focus groups on behalf of Belcher.

As well as the opinion poll, he has conducted focus groups in marginal seats.

Notes to Editors

The results are taken from a telephone poll conducted by ORB amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,056 UK adults aged 18+.

Interviews were carried out throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Fieldwork took place from 11 to 14 September 2009.

Data has been demographically and political weighted to be representative of the population.

ORB is a member of the British Polling Council.

Any use of information in this release must credit BBC's Two's Newsnight.

Poll questions

Q: Which of the following three statements best describes why you will vote or are leaning towards the Conservative party in the General Election?

All respondents who intend to vote Conservative - Base: 338
My vote is mainly a vote for David Cameron and the Conservative party - 34%
My vote is mainly a vote against Gordon Brown - 17%
My vote is mainly a vote against the record of the Labour party - 47%
None of these - 2%
Don't know/Refused - 1%

Q: Regardless of your own political views, who do you think will make the better Prime Minister?

All respondents - Base: 1,056
David Cameron - 50%
Gordon Brown - 23%
Nick Clegg - 11%
Others - 1%
None - 8%
Don't know - 7%

Q: Please tell me for each of the following people whether you have a very favourable, favourable, unfavourable, or very unfavourable opinion of them?

All respondents - Base: 1,056

Gordon Brown
Very favourable - 7%
Favourable - 31%
Unfavourable - 35%
Very unfavourable - 26%
Never heard of - 1%

David Cameron
Very favourable - 9%
Favourable - 50%
Unfavourable - 26%
Very unfavourable - 13%
Never heard of - 3%

Social Class D/E - Base: 300

Gordon Brown
Very favourable - 10%
Favourable - 34%
Unfavourable - 28%
Very unfavourable - 27%
Never heard of - 1%

David Cameron
Very favourable - 8%
Favourable - 41%
Unfavourable - 28%
Very unfavourable - 17%
Never heard of - 7%

Q: Now I'm going to read you some phrases and characteristics other people we have interviewed have used to describe the political parties in the UK. For each phrase or characteristic, please tell me whether you think each is a better description of...?

All Sample A Respondents: Base 514

Can move Britain forward
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 23%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 43%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 15%
None of them - 11%
Don't know - 8%

Will stand up for regular people during an economic crisis
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 31%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 30%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 18%
None of them - 13%
Don't know - 8%

Shares my values
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 22%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 35%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 18%
None of them - 19%
Don't know - 6%

Have definite plans and goals for Britain's future
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 23%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 42%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 12%
None of them - 13%
Don't know - 10%

Has a strong and capable team
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 21%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 37%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 11%
None of them - 18%
Don't know - 13%

Represents change in politics
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 14%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 42%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 26%
None of them - 10%
Don't know - 8%

Are providing strong leadership
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 21%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 51%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 10%
None of them - 14%
Don't know - 5%

Are concentrating on issues that are important to me
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 22%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 35%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 17%
None of them - 18%
Don't know - 7%

Will stand up for the NHS
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 34%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 33%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 13%
None of them - 9%
Don't know - 10%

Is someone I can trust
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party- 21%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 30%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 15%
None of them - 29%
Don't know - 6%

Has good judgement
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 21%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 36%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 17%
None of them - 19%
Don't know - 8%

Trust more to fix the economy
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 32%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 35%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 11%
None of them - 15%
Don't know - 7%

Makes me feel hopeful and optimistic
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 19%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 34%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 14%
None of them - 28%
Don't know - 5%

Will prioritise families
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 24%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 42%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 15%
None of them - 9%
Don't know - 9%

Is in it for themselves
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 39%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 31%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 6%
None of them - 12%
Don't know - 12%

Will make the right cuts in public spending
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 24%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 39%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 17%
None of them - 10%
Don't know - 9%

Will be tough on crime
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 18%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 51%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 9%
None of them - 13%
Don't know - 9%

Will improve education
Gordon Brown and the Labour Party - 25%
David Cameron and the Conservative Party - 41%
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats - 17%
None of them - 8%
Don't know - 8%

Q: I am going to read out two different statements. Please listen to both and tell me which of the two statements is closest to your view, even if neither is precisely what you think?

All respondents - Base: 1,056

However positively or negatively people may feel about the record of the Labour government over the past ten years, Gordon Brown represents the devil you know and we are better off sticking with Labour than risk switching to the Conservatives: 41%

Gordon Brown represents more of the same – and things in Britain have now got to the point where it really is time for a change, so we are better off switching to the Conservatives than to stick with Labour in Government: 59%

PH

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