Sunday, 11 April 2010

News, Views and Ideas from the Doorstep

At the last General Election I spent a lot of time canvassing in Reigate. This time I have dedicated all my time, so far, to Guildford. It's quite a different experience.

Reigate is a 'safe' Conservative seat and Guildford is a Lib Dem / Conservative marginal - so the basic difference is that there is a lot less firm Conservative support in Guildford.

This and the specific issues in people's minds is reflected on the doorstep:

1) A rude approach from committed Liberal Democrats when being called on by Conservatives!

2) A lot of people very unsure about how to vote. Generally, the younger people are, the less sure they are about who to vote for. Lots of people saying that they don't have the info now that they need to make a decision.

3) Labour people who talk about breaking the habit of a lifetime and voting Lib Dem (never Conservative).

Tactical Questions

In 2005 in Reigate, we had very limited resources (i.e. people to go canvassing) as most local people went and spent most of their time helping with the campaign in Guildford (to great effect). This lack of resource focussed minds and with advice from experienced people, in the County Council division (also a Lib Dem marginal) I was working in, we decided only to canvass previous Conservative pledged voters and unknowns (no previous pledge) as we didn't have enough time and resource to canvas everyone - so it made sense to concentrate primarily on getting the Conservative vote out, rather than trying to dedicate lots of time to the fairly hopeless task of trying to 'convert' other voters. We won the County Council division (and seat) by 60 votes.

I don't see the same kind of tactical decisions being made in this election..

I spent a lot of time yesterday knocking on Lib Dem doors to no good purpose because I was asked to..

Surely someone at CCHQ should be looking at this and advising on how to deploy resources in marginal seats to best effect and providing tactical approaches according to the scenario (i.e. type of majority/type of marginal etc) and the available resources on a constituency by constituency basis?

Otherwise, in these last few crucial weeks, people will probably just go knocking on doors without making any tactical decisions (just habit) and do less effective things than they could otherwise do.. and marginal seats may be lost as a result..


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