And the leader of the week was …

Chosen from the eight candidates battling for votes in the ITV referendum debates

The debates were two hours long with a similar format. The leaders had a brief chance to outline positions, then faced well-thought out questions from what appeared to be audiences representing the main demographics (gender, and political persuasion were particularly well balanced).

The moderator Mary Nightingale would have been a strong contender, managing as well as any to have ‘control over the borders’ of time permitted to the panellists obviously not used to such a treatment. (I was reminded of the approach of the horse whisperer Monty Roberts, which has a well-constructed but unobtrusive approach to keeping critters moving where he would like them to go).

How to rate the leaders

I decided on a context-specific rating approach as found in such reputable scientific journals as Which, Ryan’s Air best deals, Delia’s dozen best flans, Celebrity hottest oboists.

Three factors of performance

After some thought I decided that the key measure of the leadership performance was on the influence or impact achieved by the performance on three groups of votes.

IOU: Impact on undecided (to swing to his or her side or the other side)

IOS: Impact on supporters (to stay as supporters, become unsettled, or switch)

IOO: Impact on opponents (to stay, become unsettled or switch)

Given time and a research budget I would arrive at a reasonable set of scales for each of these three factors. As I have neither, I resorted to another approach sometimes known as first impressions to help me fill in the matrix.

I read as many articles as I could find about the two debates may have been influenced by them, or (more likely) my own bias which is more strongly towards remain than it is towards the politicians and their advocacy of their cause.

Candidate Impact on undecided voters Impact on supporting voters Impact on opposing voters Notes
Cameron 4-5 5-6 3-4 12-15 Same old same old
Farage 2-3 7-8 2-3 11-13 Same old same old
Johnson 4 5 4 13 Needed plan B
Stuart 5 6 4 15 Bit bland
Leadsom 5-6 4-5 4-5 13-16 OK but forgettable
Sturgeon 6-7 6 3-4 15-17 Most authoritative
Eagle 3-7 5-6 3-4 11-17 ‘Marmite?’
Rudd 4-7 6-7 3-5 13-19 ‘Marmite?’
Range 2-7 4-8 2-5 11-19

What if anything does all this mean?

It’s just one of the thousands of ways you can set up your own thought engine, to help you get underneath the surface of arguments. These matrix methods do not give answers so much as suggest new possibilities.

My interpretation of the debates is that we have no game-changing speaker out there at present. And, of course my judgement about the impact of a speaker is unlikely to capture the views of the voters be they decided or undecided.

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2 Responses to And the leader of the week was …

  1. Fides says:

    Why do I get the impression that, for a lot of people, ‘leadership’ = marketing? Weighing up pros and cons in a reasoned, balanced argument and – worse! – conceding that reasons contrary to one’s own might have some merit… oh no, that’s a ‘lack of leadership’! Corbyn constantly gets attacked over this approach. What is in demand is not thoughtfulness, but loud-mouthed advertising of one’s position (never mind whether substantiated or not), coupled with bullying of anyone who dares to disagree – no wonder the likes of Trump, Farage and Johnson are popular… their style is closer to the headlines on The Sun’s front page. Leaders we deserve? Ouch.

  2. Fides says:

    Sorry, shouldn’t have said ‘marketing’ – meant ‘hard selling tactics’, double-glazing style… 😉

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