From January until the election, Lord Ashcroft Polls conducted weekly focus groups from Cornwall to Scotland to find out whether the parties’ campaigns were having any effect on the people they were supposed to impress: undecided voters in marginal seats.
We asked what people had noticed and what had passed them by, what they thought the parties were trying to tell them and how believable (or otherwise) they found it, what mattered to them and what didn’t, what they made of the leaders vying for their attention, which way they were leaning and what doubts stopped them making their minds up.
Write-ups of the groups were published every Monday on my website and on ConservativeHome. The findings, captured by Kevin Culwick, the director of Lord Ashcroft Polls, told us more about what was really going on than the daily polling numbers.
One of the reasons our reports captured the imagination of readers – apart from the revealing exercises in which people were asked to imagine the leaders as cartoon characters or animals, or what they would do on a free Friday night – was that they offered an extra dimension to political coverage.
They tell us how the election campaign was seen not by its protagonists, but by its audience, the voters.
The weekly reports acquired something of a cult following, and several readers were kind enough to suggest that they should be compiled as a book.
Here, then, by popular demand, is Pay Me Forty Quid And I’ll Tell You: The 2015 Election Campaign Through The Eyes Of The Voters – now available to order from Biteback Publishing.