We have now called on 600 doors in my ward of Whickham South and Sunniside in Gateshead and so far persuaded 107 people to fill in a survey form about what they think of the creation of the Coalition government. The usual health warnings should be taken into acount: this is still a small sample so is subject to the usual statistical margins of error. We will, however, survey more residents in the near future to get a broader picture and bigger sample.
The results show that people are overwhelmingly in favour of political parties working together and support the creation of the Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition.
The first question was designed to see what people generally feel about the new politics - ie parties working together rather than confronting each other: generally, which one of the following do you prefer:
Political parties confronting each other and not working in partnership in Government - 19
Political parties working together in partnership in Government - 75
Other - 12
No answer - 1
The next question probed residents about what their favoured government was. The options were all those that could realistically have resulted from the House of Commons as elected in May. It does not allow for what people would rather the election have produced. In other words, we asked people only about the possible governments that could arise from the actual election result rather than from a general election result that never happened.
The question was: The following outcomes were all possible after the election. Which one do you prefer?
A Coalition of Lib Dems and Conservatives with a majority in Parliament - 60
A minority Conservative Government with no agreement with any opposition party and an election in the next few months. - 10
A minority Conservative Government with an agreement with the Lib Dems to allow through some, but not all, Conservative policies - 18
A minority Lib Dem/Labour Coalition dependent on Scottish, Welsh and Irish Nationalists for a majority - 12
No answer - 7
The following question was designed to see what people specifically thought of the Lib Dems and Conservatives working together in Coalition, as opposed to the first question which was simply about the principle of co-operation and coalition: Do you think that the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives were right to put aside party differences and work together to create a Coalition Government?
Yes - 78
No - 19
Don't know - 6
No answer - 4
There are a number of other questions asked about voting reform and the Coalition Agreement. I will publish them at some point shortly.
The profile of voting intention is fairly spread across the parties. My ward in local elections with typical local election turnout of around 40% (that's about typical for my ward at any rate) tends to give us a vote share of between 64%-74%. The voting spread in the survey means we are effectively engaging with people of other parties as well as our own supporters. If anything, our own supporters could be a touch under represented in the sample as plenty people on the doorsteps tell us they don't need to fill in the survey as we are "doing fine" and all we need to do is "keep up the good work." Another group that is slightly under represented is the strong Labour supporters. The small handfull I came across tended to respond by saying they are Labour and won't fill in the form, though some were then persuaded to do so.
Anyway the sample breaks down as:
Strong Conservative 11
Soft Conservative 17
Strong Labour 10
Soft Labour 19
Lib Dem 38
No answer 8
When the sample size gets bigger, I will also publish results by party support.