Tuesday morning’s excellent Politico Playbook email brings promising news for the Liberal Democrats from new focus group research:
Kekst CNC’s James Johnson, a former aide to Theresa May, conducted two recent focus groups: one in red wall Blyth Valley, where Ian Levy is the first Tory MP to represent the constituency since it was established in 1950, and one in blue wall Esher and Walton, where Dominic Raab faces the very real prospect of losing his seat to the Lib Dems…
Worryingly for the Tories — and Raab in particular — the focus group in the middle class Brexit-skeptic blue wall seat of Esher and Walton was much less positive on Johnson [than the focus group in Blyth Valley]. “A bit of a bumbling buffoon, to be honest, I think there was a lot of bravado, a lot of showmanship and the substance isn’t there … A lot of waffle and really incapable of really leading. Where is the statesmanship these days? … He tries but he’s a but fluffy around the edges … Lack of statesmanship … What is the great saying? Is it lions led by a donkey or something? Soldiers led by a donkey, he’s out of his depth I think.”…
In Blyth, all six swing voters said they would stick with the Tories. In Esher, three said they would stick with the Tories, the other three said Liberal Democrat.
This is the second Kekst CNC focus group to have been carried out in Esher and Walton, and these findings are in line with the previous one – giving extra weight to them.
Good news for the Liberal Democrat hopes of taking seats off the Conservatives in the Blue Wall, then, but less good news in this – and previous – focus groups for Labour and its own hopes of making gains in the Red Wall.