New Deltapoll research goes beyond asking how many voters think something, and instead reveals how much they careby Martin Boon / December 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
“Get Brexit done,” they tell us. “No, this impasse requires a second referendum,” they shout, or failing that “just revoke Article 50!” Whatever the perspective, this election was supposed to be the final Brexit referendum. The big plunger that would unblock the Westminster Brexit drain.
But as we approach the end game, the only drain that actually seems to be working is the one which flushes out the emotional energy from voters, many of whom are now just desperate for an ending to a story that they no longer care much about and have often ceased to follow. What a remarkable prospective end to the most passionate debate in political memory: the general election that was finally meant to resolve Brexit ends up being one that is about everything else.
This isn’t just my own jaded musing. It is the only conclusion to draw from Deltapoll’s analysis of how emotionally connected with the manifesto offerings the voters really are. Over the last five years we’ve tested hundreds of political messages and polices to see what cuts through to people, rather than those that just secure transient “support” from orthodox polls. We are, in other words, looking at the intensity of people’s preferences, the quality as opposed to the quantity alone.
How on earth can a pollster do that? As well as the number of people who say they support something, we can also ask them how strongly they feel it, and—here’s the clever bit—look at how quickly they respond. The faster they do, the more they believe it. Just as you can tell when you chat with a friend whether they are just mouthing an opinion as the right thing to say, or whether they are passionately fired up, we can, for example, look at the speed with which people answer a particular question to get a sense of how settled they are in their opinion and how eager they are to give it. Through such techniques, we’ve developed an Emotional Resonance Score (ERS), which combines both the breadth of support for a policy with the emotional intensity underpinning it. The maximum score is 100—complete support with maximum emotional certainty in it; a score of zero implies the opposite. In…