I wouldn't say it has been a cult but claims that she was someone who is universally liked isn't bore out if you travel outside a 25 mile radius of the home counties.
Yep. The fact of the matter is that the Tories simply can't make a meaningful through across large swathes of the country - and yet they seem to have no interest in doing so, otherwise they wouldn't have recruited Lynton Crosby. They haven't won a parliamentary majority in 21 years and yet media pundits (and their fellow travellers within Labour, who have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion) still treat them with a degree of reverence they just aren't due. That's why you get clueless hacks fawning over Osborne's supposed strategic nous on benefits and so on, when this is the man who's led them into a fairly regular string of high-profile fuck-ups ever since assuming office.
The Tory party is really a party for the rich suburbs and the shires now. Of course, most Fleet Street journalists happen to be drawn from this sort of background themselves, which almost certainly influences the coverage they get. What's more, they're facing long-term decline unless they change tack dramatically - their activist base is being hollowed by age and UKIP, and their poll ratings among the 18-24s are consistently awful (I know turnout is generally lower among the younger age groups, but the Tories can't bank on that anymore).
What I find really astonishing is that the Tories seem to have forgotten that they need to throw a few bones to the lower-middle class and the would-be lower-middle class if they're to win elections. That's why right-to-buy, as damaging as its long-term impact has been, was such a shrewd move at the time. By flogging off council housing and dishing out a few shares, they gave away just enough to buy voters' loyalty to the system as a whole. And all the while, the real gains were being handed out to the ultra-rich. The new breed of Tories want to do plenty of the latter but less of the former, and as a result one of the key elements of their base is getting poorer - and drifting away from them.