Shy conservatives

Hans Mahncke

“Shy conservative”

So all the media seems to be confounded by the ‘shy conservative’ phenomenon. ‘Shy conservatives’ are purported to be the reason why pollsters got their predictions so badly wrong in the recent UK parliamentary elections. Specifically, it is argued that because conservative voters have been shamed by the media et al, they were too shy to tell pollsters their true voting intentions.

In fact, it wasn’t only the pre-election polls. Even the exit polls had the Tories at 316, 15 short of their actual result, further supporting the notion that conservative voters in the UK are reluctant to tell pollsters and exit pollsters their true opinions. It seems as if there is some truth to this notion of the shy conservative.

But this is nothing new, of course. This year’s election is very similar to the one held in 1992. Back then too, the predicted result was a hung parliament and back then too, no one seemed to have predicted that the Tories would win a fairly solid majority of 336 (5 more than this year). The reasons were no different then, than they are now. Conservative voters in the UK seem to tell pollsters one thing, and then do another thing in the privacy of the polling both.

And just as the voters in 1992 spared the country from Neil Kinnock, this time they spared it from Red Ed. Good on them.

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