Is Cameron’s sex appeal waning?

Are the Tories doing badly amongst women? Over their conference period, the feature writers sharpened their pens. Women’s support for the Tories had fallen by 7 per cent since the election, said some, citing a poll by Ipsos Mori for the Resolution Foundation.

The Observer “reported” that after the general election 45 per cent of women supported the Conservatives, but female approval for the coalition has now plummeted to 25 per cent. This apparent evidence was combined with David Cameron’s rather unwise Commons putdown of Angela Eagle (“calm down, dear”) to suggest that he and his party had sex problems.

Beware journalists bearing polls. To untangle the web of comparing like with unlike which  underlies this stuff would try the patience of even the most dedicated Straight Statistics readers. So let us keep things simple.

According to the aforementioned Ipsos Mori, which is far from pleased at how its data have been presented, at the general election of 2010, 36 per cent of women voted Tory compared with 31 per cent voting Labour. For men,the corresponding figures were 38 per cent and 28 per cent.

However in its polls between January and September, amongst women Labour enjoyed 41 per cent  support to the Conservatives 35 per cent. Amongst men, the corresponding figures were 40 per cent and 35 per cent.

So: amongst women, the swing from Tory to Labour was 5.5 per cent. For men it was 4.5 per cent. The difference is minute. Indeed, the fall in Tory support was greater amongst men (3 per cent) than women (1 per cent).

Thousands of trees were pulped and gallons of ink spilled – for nothing.