How to swing an election

Of all the campaigning techniques and skills, the one that is often overlooked is making speeches. Yet one bad speech by David Davis and one good speech by David Cameron seems to have permanently changed the dymamic of the Conservative Leadership election.

Before the conference, Davis was the strong favourite. Cameron was one of several possible challengers who would make it into the final round with him. Yet a week later it had reached the point where, for all Davis's merits, and they are many, Cameron is the strong leader. Estimates are that 50% of the members have voted and Cameron leads two to one. If 75% ultimately vote, and that would be a good turnout, Davis needs to win by at least four to one among the remaining voters. That is just not going to happen. Furthermore, as Michael Portillo has pointed out, if the Conservative Party elected anyone other than Cameron, the electorate would think it was completely mad.

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