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13 Years of Conservatives: Successes & Failures

Chris Holbrook Find Out Now Market Research

Chris Holbrook

9th Nov, 2023 | 7 mins read

This week, Rishi Sunak told Parliament after the King’s speech that he had, “a long term agenda to change our country for the better”, which seemed to ignore the fact they have been in charge for last 13 years. We asked the public what they think has been achieved in this time and, in the interests of balance, what they have broken. The results are not flattering.

To get a reliable response we used a technique we call “qual to quant” which asks a small sample of around 200 for verbatim responses that we use to compile answer options to a, more measurable, multiple-choice version of the question(s). This avoids introducing biases from our own opinions. It stops us including answer options we agree with, and omitting ones we don’t.

The results of these alone are telling, though not nationally representative. When asked “Thinking back over the last 13 years of Conservative government, what would you give them credit for?”, only ~23% managed to give an arguably positive answer, and ~53% saying variations of “nothing”. The rest gave mostly scathing negative responses, often including Cummings-esque language. The full results can be seen here.

When asked “Thinking back over the last 13 years of Conservative government, what do you blame them for?” 84% were able to give an example of something negative. Some answers were very detailed, like:

“Increased poverty, higher prices and shrinkflation, homelessness, reduction in public services and deteriorating quality of roads, parks, libraries, the shortage in nursing and school staff, frightening levels of inequality that they don’t understand because it doesn’t affect them, increased levels of racial abuse, failure to reform the police, NHS waiting lists, wastage of public funds, reduced funding for HMRC leading to people getting away with tax avoidance, persecution of LGBT (especially trans) people, and the big one – BREXIT, which is a disaster. Harder and more expensive to go abroad now. They’ve messed everything up.”

Some shorter, but no less fierce: “I’d have to write a novel! I blame them for the state of the country. Most specifically, I blame them for the state of the NHS which led to the death of my sister!”

And my personal favourite: “Not telling whole truths”.

The full results can be seen here.

We then took a more scientific, but less fun, approach of using the most common answers in multiple choice (“select all that apply”) questions and fielding them to a nationally representative sample of 1,008 GB adults:

Thinking back over the last 13 years of Conservative government, what would you give them credit for?

Covid vaccine rollout25.7
Implementing gay marriage14.3
Managing the COVID pandemic before the vaccine roll out8.6
Raising the rate of employment8.4
Getting a good Brexit deal7.5
Managing foreign relations5.1
Economic growth3.9
Levelling up and prioritising the North2.7
Improving the NHS2.1
Managing immigration levels1.9
Improving law and order1.2
None of the above57.8

Key points

  • Most (3 in 5) think 13 years of Conservative government has achieved nothing.
  • Key Conservative priorities of “immigration” and “law and order” were at the bottom, with less than 1 in 50 willing to give them credit.
  • 33% of 2019 Conservative voters give them credit for nothing.
  • Only half of 2019 Conservative voters give them credit for the Covid vaccine rollout.

Full results here

Thinking back over the last 13 years of Conservative government, what do you blame them for?

Decline in the NHS59.5
Decline in the quality of public services54.4
Mismanagement of immigration policy53.6
Mismanagement of COVID-19 pandemic51.5
Mismanagement of the economy48.6
Poor infrastructure spending48.5
Scrapping HS230.2
Removing Boris Johnson from office14.6
None of the above17.9

Key points

  • Only 1 in 6 blame the last 13 years of Tories for nothing.
  • More than half of people blame them for decline / mismanagement of NHS, other public services, immigration and the pandemic.
  • Over half (51.7%) of Conservative 2019 voters blame them for mismanaging immigration.

Full results here

About the survey

Find Out Now interviewed 1,894 GB adults from 2023-11-07 to 2023-11-08, and produced a sample of 1,006 respondents which is nationally representative by: Gender, Age, Social Class, Region, Brexit Vote, and 2019 General Election.

Find Out Now are members of the British Polling Council and Market Research Society and abide by their rules.

For further information, or to request a poll or survey, contact us on ask@findoutnow.co.uk.