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|
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.