Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Opinion Polls Don't Mean Much in the Final Analysis!

(Getty Images)
Before the Conservatives get too excited about this latest poll, may I gently remind them that seventeen years ago Labour were as high as 21 points ahead of the Conservatives, who were facing almost unprecedented levels of unpopularity since they came to office.
Then there was a change of leadership and it all unravelled for those of us in opposition!


icedink said...

Not sure if it's a blip yet and the fuss is only because the Tories have hit the magic 40pc. The main drift from Labour seems to have been to the Lib Dems, indictating a continuing aversion to vote Conservative.

Cameron is still on probation with a lot of the party in the country and I hear grumbling and tut-tutting about him around here and in urban seats in the north west. But the party is changing, though not everyone likes it - a story with which I am sure you are all too familiar, Paul.

His first big test before the election will be to square up to whoever Labour picks to replace Blair - still the most interesting topic in politics. Everyone says Brown is a shoo-in but I'm not so sure any more. It may be time to pass the thing on to the next generation and accept a term out of office. God forbid that it should be Reid. My personal preference - as a Tory - would be for Johnson to stand, or Charlie Clarke. Both good men.

Paul Burgin said...

Well Labour had made better progress with reform as it approached it's tenth anniversary in opposition and had already took it's internal critics head on! When Cameron starts attacking those on the hard right at a Party Conference, such as TFA etc.. then I will start to think the Conservatives are heading firmly for the centre ground.
But at the end of the day we shall see. I honestly don't think the Conservatives will win the next election (unless something comes out of the blue, or red, or yellow ;)), simply because of the task in persuading people that the Conservatives have changed, but nothing can be taken for granted..
So long as the next election is not as nasty as last time, or in 92.

icedink said...

I agree that the next election is still wide open but I fear it will be every bit as nasty, when it comes, as last year and '92. The insidious and unwelcome advent of American campaign techniques - we get all their junk, food, music, TV, etc ;-).

There is a case to be made for capping election spending but I am not yet comfortable with the idea of state funding. The parties should persuade people of their arguments and rely on subscription to fund campaigns - these are still voluntary bodies, after all. The only way it might work, I suppose, would be for some sort of Electoral Commission-administered scheme which gave £1 or whatever to a party each time an elector put a cross on a ballot paper for them.

Paul Burgin said...

Well I am not sure about state funding either. I think it unworkable. I mean, for me personally I wouldn't want my taxes to go to the Tories and Lib Dems, I would be horrified if any taxpayers money went to the BNP!
As for election campaigns, as I said, I hope not! But I share some of your pessimism

A soft socialist said...

No chance is my money going towards funding the fib dem's focuses.

Paul Burgin said...


C4' said...

While Paul right about the failings of opinion polls, the evidence does suggest that these polls almost always overestimate Labour's support, underestimated Tory support and support for the Lib Dems being all over the place.

In real terms, Tory support maybe 1% than that recorded in this recent poll.

politicalcorrespondent said...

Unfortunately C4 is right - there is every chance that ICM polls are actually quite generous to us.

But there are also a few other more encouraging polling trends.

More analysis at The Daily:


And of course a link back to Mars Hill! :-)

Paul Burgin said...

Well put it this way, those of us in the Labour Party cannot rest on our laurels!