Campaign survey: mediocre news for democracy, good news for the Lib Dems

The results are in from a survey carried out by Brunel University into how much campaigning the public has been on the receiving end of.

The mediocre news as far as democracy is concerned is that 27% of the electorate say they were contacted by at least one of the three main political parties during February (by phone, letter, leaflet, email etc.). Coming just before a general election that 27% figure is not great, even if you factor in that some people do seem to forget they has been contacted and also that other parties have been campaigning too. It’s much higher than the auto-cynics who claim all politicians are lazy and never bother getting in touch would have you belief, but far from being great.

Amongst the campaigning that has taken place, though, there is good news for the Liberal Democrats. Bear in mind that an amazingly good general election result would involve winning, say, 200 seats whilst a similarly amazingly good result for either of the others would be more like 400 seats. Therefore overall Tories and Labour should be contacting far more people as they’re fighting seriously to win across more seats.

But that’s not what the figures show. Looking at the people who have been contacted:

Direct mail – 92% received at least one item from Lib Dems, 89% from Conservatives and 81% from Labour
Telephone calls –  7% called at least once by Lib Dems, 5% by Conservatives and 14% by Labour
Door knocked –  7% called at least once by Lib Dems, 10% by Conservatives and 12% by Labour

Bearing in mind the margins of error on a 1,000 person poll, not too much should be read into some differences but it is valid to conclude that, for example, the Liberal Democrats are getting to more people via direct mail than Labour. Bearing in mind the broader front the other parties are fighting on (both nationally and locally), the phone and door knocking figures are also encouraging.

Hat-tip: Reuters blog

UPDATE: For more on the Brunel survey, see my follow-up post.

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