Monday, November 23, 2009

Rogue Poll Sends Parties In A Tizz

A rogue poll has sent political parties in a tizz offering a meagre crumb of comfort for a fag-end government and its lamentable leader. Election weary voters were given only a short respite from hard core politicking. Now it's all hands to the pumps of a sinking ship.

A sure sign of political unrest and uncertainty comes when a single poll out of kilter with other polls is seized on to make political capital.

The 'surprise' Ipsos/Mori poll in yesterday's Observer should be taken with a pinch of salt.

As Anthony Wells over at UK Polling Report points out: "the big difference between MORI and other pollsters is that MORI do not politically weight their sample."

It's all down to the sampling and the political weightings, as Wells makes clear:

"Part of the reason for the shift in MORI’s voting intentions since last month is that their sample appears to have had significantly fewer people who voted Tory in 2005 and significantly more people who voted Labour in 2005."

Push polls, used extensively during the US presidential campaign, are common place in the run up to elections.

Taken on dubious face value, the poll cuts the Tory lead over New Labour to a narrow six points with the Tories on 37 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent and the Lib Dems down in the dumps on 17. A far cry from, er, the last major poll a couple of weeks ago.

But that didn't stop everyone and their political dog putting on their best Sunday spin, with the Observer proclaiming: "Poll boost for PM as confidence in economy grows". Yeh, sure.

The LibDem loving Observer even put a smile on the face of glum Clegg, jumping on his dream of a 'hung' parliament: "Chance of hung parliament as Conservative lead falls to 6%". LimpDems hanging on the coat tails of a hung parliament. Every wet liberals dream.

Tories have a fight on their hands to form a workable government. But that was always the case with an electoral system rigged in New Labour's favour. Even with a consistent double digit poll lead, Tories are not home and dry.

Cameron has managed to position the Tories as a 'government in waiting'. Boy George has done well to turn into Honest Osborne. But the sales pitch to voters is still 'David Cameron's Conservatives'.

The spectre of Cameron as a hyped up heir to Blair still haunts, is difficult to shake off and for many a turn off, despite the Sun banging the drum for Dave.

Dave's dithering EU referendum shuffle was a watershed. For the first time it seemed Cameron was heading for a Bernie Ecclestone moment even before he was in Downing Street.

Any politician who has to fall back on the lame of excuse of being 'a pretty straight kind of guy' to deflect deflated trust, faces an uphill task to win hearts and minds in the battle to contact and convince voters.

As the election approaches, the Orange Party believes the polls will have less to do with a 'hardening' of New Labour support, more to do with a 'softening' of Tory support.

Would-be Tories voters could well turn to UKIP if they were not such a joke and embarrassment. Hanging over New Labour is the traditional 'Liberal' enemy. Hanging over both main parties is the dark shadow of the BNP.

Buried in the Observer poll report was a salient sliver of truth which should send a shiver down the spine of the struggling Supreme Leader. A question over the party leaders which never saw the light of day in all the poll spin.

Brown is still down. Cameron is still on his uppers.

"Brown's personal rating remains in the doldrums. Only 34% of people are satisfied with his performance, against 59% who are dissatisfied. David Cameron had approval ratings of 48%, with 35% against."

What is clear is that the election grid is now fixed whoever carries the burnt out baton in the dying days of the doomed New Labour project.

Sealed with the sham of a Queen's Speech. Sealed with a deliberate campaign to increase the scandal of postal votes. Sealed with the outrage of pulling a squalid rabbit out of the hat close to election day.

Soon the recession depression will be officially over. Brown's BBC cheerleaders can finally wheel out their unrealistic but reassuring 'Upturn' graph. Couple that with a promise to pull troops out of the Afghan killing fields - sometime. Things can only get better but who will clean up the mess?

For voters a stark choice still remains. Who do they trust to place a firm hand on the economic tiller? Who do they trust to get to grips with a decade of lies, deceit, failure and disaster?

And who do they trust when a rogue poll is placed in a New Labour supporting newspaper on a wet Sunday to give Beleaguered Brown a much needed bounce?

UPDATE 7pm: A new Angus Reid Strategies poll for politicalbetting paints a very different picture. Conservatives 39%, Labour 22%, LibDems 21%.

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