David Cameron
David Cameron is though to be "pompous" Reuters

It was probably asking for trouble, but Tory peer and pollster Lord Ashcroft has asked voters what words leap to mind when they hear the names of our political leaders.

How about "slimy", "spineless" and "pompous" for Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron respectively? And that is among women, a group every political party is desperate to get on side.

Women, it appears, are far more direct and personal in their reactions to our politicians.

The former Tory deputy chairman separated out the top 20 responses from men and women and discovered a notable difference. Presumably he asked them to keep it clean.

So women responded to the name Ed Miliband with "boring", "who?", "unsure", "slimy" and "annoying" while men came up with "unions", "geek", "red" and "socialist".

The word Clegg prompted the response "spineless", "wet" and "soft" from women with men saying "two-faced", "lap-dog" and "opportunist".

As for the prime minister, women responded "family", "pompous" and "incompetent" while men said "Eton", "good" and "determined".

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On policy and the most important issues facing the country, men and women agreed on the top three – growth, jobs and immigration but differed on the fourth. Men said cutting the deficit and debt; women opted for improving the NHS.

Ashcroft said the unscientific poll was bad news for everybody. "The Conservative party's problem is not that it is not attracting enough women - it is that it is not attracting enough of anybody".

So perhaps all those stories about Cameron's women problem should be recast as Cameron's voter problem.

Miliband and Clegg shouldn't get too carried away though – it seems they are far from flavour of the month either, particularly with the nation's straight-talking women.