Has David Cameron been damaged politically by the conviction of Andy Coulson?
Ben Harris-Quinney, director of Conservative Grassroots, says Yes.
Voters made up their minds about Cameron and Coulson years ago. A 2011 ComRes poll showed two-thirds felt Cameron’s decision to hire Coulson showed poor judgement. The remaining third didn’t seem to notice or care.
Since then, as the economy recovered, the Conservatives have led the polls on competence and capability. Cameron’s personal ratings have remained high.
In the long run, economic competence matters a lot more to voters than HR competence.
Cameron’s rapid apology was a communications master class in moving a story along. His dogged belief in second chances and emphasis on the trust he places in his team will also have not been lost on the public, who view politicians as fickle creatures.
While this story will be frustrating for Cameron, for those that care about the issue, the damage has already been done – and for those who don’t, nothing will have changed.