An exclusive PinkNews.co.uk poll shows that the Conservative Party’s share of the gay vote has slipped even further.
PinkNews.co.uk has been tracking the voting intentions of a sample group of almost 1,000 LGBT people since March and comparing it to a similar exercise in the lead-up to the European Elections.
The latest poll was carried out this weekend, as claims of Tory candidate Philippa Stroud attempting to “cure” homosexuality through prayer emerged.
The poll found that of our sample, only six per cent now intend to vote Tory, compared to nine per cent a week ago and from 39 per cent last June.
17 per cent of this sample said they voted Conservative at the 2005 general election, while the party was headed by Michael Howard, the minister responsible for introducing Section 28, which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. This means under David Cameron, gay support for the Conservatives has more than halved.
In the last year, David Cameron has taken care to include gay people in policy, promising to strike out historic gay sex offences and “consider the case” for calling civil partnerships marriage, making him on paper at least, the most gay-friendly Conservative leader ever.
However, the party has been hit by a string of unfavourable headlines over some candidates’ views on homosexuality.
Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said last month that he agreed bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to bar gays, while shadow defence secretary Dr Julian Lewis said that equalising the age of consent has led to greater levels of HIV.
Scottish Tory candidate Philip Lardner was sacked for stating on his official election website that homosexuality was not ‘normal‘ and newspapers claimed this weekend that Conservative candidate and Mr Cameron’s own advisor on families, Philippa Stroud, ran a church which attempted to cure gay people.
These gaffes, contrasting with Mr Cameron’s attempts to reach out to the gay community, suggest it is people, not policies, which turn gay voters off.The latest poll puts the Lib Dems in front with 57 per cent of our sample saying they will vote for Nick Clegg’s party, down one point since last weekend, but up from 20 per cent in 2005.
Labour remain behind, on 25 per cent, although this is a four per cent rise from last week. In 2005, 29 per cent of our sample said they voted Labour. The Green Party has the support of 10 per cent of the gay community, up 2% on last month. 902 people demographically and geographically representative of the LGBT community were tracked for 2 months.
Among first time LGBT voters, the Labour Party received the least amount of support with nine percent, the Liberal Democrats lead with 58 per cent support, the Conservatives second with 20 per cent and the Greens third on 13 per cent.
A further self selecting online poll of PinkNews.co.uk readers found a smaller lead for the Liberal Democrats, on 45 per cent, Labour on 35 per cent, the Green Party on 10 per cent and the Conservatives on eight per cent. The SNP received 2 per cent support.
The economy remains by far the most important issue for LGBT voters, with 52 per cent agreeing. However, LGBT issues were also important, as 22 per cent of our readers indicated.
Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg remained the politician respondents most wanted to see running the country with 46 per cent, followed by Gordon Brown on 30 per cent, with Mr Cameron trailing behind on nine per cent. However, 15 per cent said “none of the above”.
However, the vast majority of our readers did not want to see Mr Brown running his own party, with only nine per cent saying they wanted him to remain Labour leader.
Foreign secretary David Miliband was the most popular choice to lead Labour with the support of 31 per cent of our sample.
He was followed by home secretary Alan Johnson on 14 per cent and equalities minister Harriet Harman on 11 per cent.
Eighty-one per cent of our sample said they did not believe Mr Cameron’s gay-friendly rhetoric, compared to 74 per cent a week ago.
The Green Party were named the most gay friendly part with 38 per cent, down one per cent on the previous week, the Liberal Democrats were up eight per cent on 36 per cent, Labour on 20 per cent, and the Conservatives on just five percent with the SNP on one per cent.