In previous focus groups we spoke to Labour-Conservative switchers in Nuneaton; a seat which Labour would hope to take back from the Conservatives at the next general election.
In this research we have used the same approach, but this time with Labour-UKIP switchers in Oldham and Rochdale. This takes in the seats of Heywood & Middleton and Oldham West & Royton together with Simon Danczuk’s Rochdale seat amongst others.
In October James Morris and I carried out two focus groups in the Oldham and Rochdale area. The videos of these groups will be released from Thursday onwards, but today I want to introduce you to our participants.
Whenever we organise such groups the first stage is to consider which voters we want to hear from. This might seem like a relatively straightforward task but it’s important to be fairly specific or risk on unrepresentative group.
I asked James and GQRR to recruit participants with the following characteristics:
- Aged over 35
- Social class C2DE
- In employment, either part-time or full-time
- Resident within Oldham or Rochdale
- Homeowner or renting from the council
- Left school at 15 or 16
- Newspaper readership (where possible): Mirror, Mail, Sun, Express
- Voted Labour in 2010 or 2015 but are now intending to vote for UKIP
As always James moderated the groups and was given a fairly loose discussion document to run through a series of subjects. The focus groups discussed the state of the country; immigration; Brexit; the Labour party; Jeremy Corbyn; UKIP; Theresa May and the Conservatives; and other issues besides.
Each focus group consists of one group of eight women followed by one group of eight men. Some researchers run mixed groups but experience suggests there are particular interpersonal dynamics at play in mixed groups which can harm the quality of the output. Therefore, as is standard practice for ourselves, we carried out a focus group of women followed by a focus group of men; each lasting an hour and a half.
More or less the full three hours of discussions will be dripped out in the fullness of time.
But as a means of introduction here is the womens group describing themselves and where they get their news from:
And here is the mens group describing themselves and where they get their news from:
I am going to refrain from giving a commentary ahead of their release as I want the words of the participants to speak for themselves.