Not really the most surprising set of findings ever.
On the second day of a series on the new Conservatives, the Guardian publishes the results of interviews with 66 candidates in key target seats. Cameron needs to gain 126 seats on top of the 198 the Tories won at the 2005 general election to secure a working majority in the House of Commons.
More than 83% said they wanted to see a reduction in the upper limit on abortion with 61% specifying they would like to see it cut to 22 weeks, or by an unspecified amount. The Commons recently voted to maintain the upper limit on a free vote, with Cameron voting to reduce it to 22 weeks and the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, voting for the status quo. The survey suggests the abortion limit could be cut if a vote is forced in the next parliament.
The majority of candidates endorsed Cameron\’s decision to rule out unfunded tax cuts at the next election and a majority also voiced support for his stance on social issues such as offering tax cuts to married couples.
Asked for their views on marriage, a large majority of the respondents lined up to support one of Cameron\’s key policies – that marriage should be recognised in the tax system. The Conservatives currently plan to give £20 a week to married couples.
As with Labour in the run up to 1997, they\’ve realised that to win they\’ve got to be toeing the current party line. What these people think and what they say they think is therefore (quite possibly, do you think?) rather different.
This isn\’t a test of what they do in fact think, it\’s a test of how well they\’ve been drilled.
Quite well it appears.