Sam’s tweet and this article from Lord Ashcroft point to two useful conclusions we should take notice of about campaigning.
The first is that people want to be positive – they want to have hope, and they are receptive to campaigns that offer strong, good messages for the future. The positive is what matters to them.
As an aside, this further tweet, also from Sam, demonstrates that negative campaigning, done well and with resonance, doesn’t mean that voters don’t receive and act on a positive message.
The second is that without a strong and positive narrative, properly controlled and consistent, voters only remember the negative – whether that is from you or from your opponents.
We have long argued that the Conservatives need to deliver in government in order to win next time. But as important is telling people that they are delivering. Equally, reminding people that Labour did not and cannot deliver on their priorities is important too. (There are various bits of that in this post, and in this one).
Lots of people say that they are confident that by election-time in 2015, voters will ‘know’ that the Conservatives have done a good job, and so will vote for us. I’m less confident – because while I do think that the Conservatives are largely doing a good job, I am really concerned that the current garbled or non-existent narrative about what we’re doing, why, and how it will deliver a better future will mean that voters are just unwilling to listen by then.