“It’s time for change, but who do we vote for?” My focus groups in Bicester and Romsey

  • 14 June, 2024
  • Politics
  • Polling

This week’s focus groups brought together uncommitted previous Conservative voters in two southern seats on the Lib Dem hit list that the Tories would once have considered safe: Romsey and Southampton North, and the new constituency of Bicester and Woodstock.

Few were impressed with proceedings so far: “The Tories just seem to have pressed the self-destruct button. They’re not doing themselves any favours;” “It’s almost as if the Tories are going for being leader of the Conservative Party when they lose, rather than trying to fight this election;” “I really wish politics in the run-up to an election could be conducted over the radio, because it’s all to do with image and unimportant things;” “Someone was at Thorpe Park or somewhere, on one of the rides. He was just making a complete idiot of himself. I think it might have been a Lib Dem;” “It feels like all the adults have left the room. We used to have grown-up politicians and some of the better ones were actually those that were in the wings. We’ve just lost a very good minister of defence, for example, who was a very credible individual. There’s no-one I have any trust in on any front.”

Local campaigns were very much in evidence in both places: “There are lots of signs up, mostly Lib Dems. For some reason the Lib Dems are always much more visible. The Tories don’t put big signs in their front yards or windows or anything. I think there’s a danger you’d get people with pitchforks and burning torches egging your house. There’s a stigma attached to being a Tory.”

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