“Notably, those who identify on the left side of the political spectrum are more than twice as likely to be in the Adamant than the Ambivalent group,” the report pointed out. And by contrast, those who tilt to the right politically are more likely to offer a shrug over these differences and belong to the Equivocal or Ambivalent clubs. So social conservatives might be less likely to vote for a more progressive leader, but it’s not a deal-breaker for many of them, Kurl explained—and their more progressive brethren are considerably more dogmatic.
That has big implications for the Tories as they head toward the leadership vote in June, in that it appears there’s room for the party to shift toward the centre without alienating its socially conservative contingent, she added. And this finding flies in the face of the dominant narrative that the SoCon element needs to be specifically mollified in the party’s choice of leader.
“I still think that the social conservative wing of the party, in terms of membership and grassroots, is very motivated and will be powerful,” Kurl said. “But it does not necessarily mean that a more moderate leader or a would-be leadership hopeful can’t make the case to say, ‘Look, guys, if we move more toward the centre, there’s still room for victory here.’”