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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 05:09 GMT
Tory party 'has an image problem'
Michael Howard
Michael Howard's policies seem to be more popular than his party
The Tory party's immigration policy may be more popular with voters than the party is itself, a poll suggests.

An ICM survey for BBC2's Newsnight asked 1,012 people if they supported tough immigration controls, without specifying they were Tory policies.

Some 82% said they supported the plans, but only 65% did so when told that it was the Tory policy on the issue.

Leading Tory Steve Norris said his party needed to show it is "different from the party of the past".

Loyal supporters

Mr Norris went on: "I worry that some of the issues prioritised so far, like immigration and tax cuts, are designed to appeal to our loyal supporters and won't be enough to persuade the unconvinced."

Those questioned were asked whether they supported the immigration policies set out by the Tories without naming the party which was putting them forward.

Steve Norris
Steve Norris believes the Tories need to re-think their approach

They then asked the same number of respondents the same question, but added that the measures being suggested were Conservative policies.

Among those who were asked "Do you support the idea that immigration should be controlled more strictly?", some 82% said they did, compared to 18% who did not.

When they were asked "Do you support the Conservative Policy to control immigration more strictly?", just 65% said yes, against 35% who said no.

Rick Nye, former head of research for the Tories and director of polling company Populus, said: "If people either don't like you...or think you are irrelevant, they don't care what your policies are."

The survey was carried out between February 11 and 13.




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