How David Miliband’s stock has declined since launch


by Sunny Hundal    
9:01 am - August 31st 2010

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One of the problems with the Labour leadership election is that because there is little polling on how candidates are impacting audiences, speculation is exaggerated.

Each campaign wants to push the line that their candidate has all “the momentum” because they want to convince wavering MPs that they should stick with the candidate most likely to win.

But there are questions the media isn’t asking: why has David Miliband’s stock – who was way ahead of the others when starting out – fallen so much? Why is he running neck-and-neck and not way ahead?

First, remember that it was widely expected he would hoover up support from MPs and CLPs. We wouldn’t have known how they developed if it wasn’t for LabourList keeping a running total. In the event, Ed Miliband was uncomfortably close on both fronts. That changed the main narrative.

Second, what about sentiment among grassroots members? The only consistent polling here is that by LabourList – which has polled its readers four times. What’s interesting is that as the race has progressed – sentiment among Labour members actually shifted to Ed Miliband while David Miliband’s stock declined.

None of the media has picked up on this change (though they’ve been happy to report LL polls).

Results: first, second, third, fourth

These aren’t scientific polls. But the numbers correspond with how the race started out and it shows how sentiment amongst an overwhelmingly Labour audience has changed.

Once the race was narrowed down to 5 candidates (as ‘other’ declines to zero), support for Ed Miliband jumps a lot more while it eventually falls for David.

In the last two polls for LabourList, Ed Miliband picked up the most second preference votes when they were counted. The above graph just relates to first-preference votes.

(Note: I’m not taking a personal dig at David Miliband, just pointing out an observation that the media has studiously ignored. Intellectually, I think he is an impressive candidate and not the die-hard ‘Blairite’ he’s painted by some. I justdon’t think he can deliver a Labour victory.)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Labour party ,Westminster


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Reader comments


Well if you’re right there’s a lot of money to be made trading the odds whch are currently approx. 1/3 on David, 2/1 on Ed.

“None of the media has picked up on this…”

Nor you, apparently, as evidenced by your consistent backing of Balls – defending the indefensible – despite all evidence pointing to the fact that absolutely no-one (even within the Labour party) can stand the sight of him.

Even Andy Burnham (who?) is preferred to the man whom you gleefully observed “punching the coalition in the face”…

“Nor you, apparently, as evidenced by your consistent backing of Balls”

Utterly bizarre comment.

How can a person not have “picked up” on something which constitutes the specific point he is making?

And further, that someone “backs” one candidate has no logical relation to their apprehension of the empirical facts about levels of support generally. Or are we to assume that because I support Crystal Palace it follows I believe they are the most popular football team in England?

4. margin4error

Sunny

“Each campaign wants to push the line that their candidate has all “the momentum””

To be fair – the flip side of that is the Ed Miliband campaign (including yourself) pushing the line that the favourite’s momentum is in reverse.

Though in reality there are no figures on how labour members feel so we are all feeling in the dark.

Surely the biggest story from these polls is what’s happened to Diane Abbott?

@3 – not bizarre at all.

Sunny has consistently backed Ed Balls:

“… if people want to see the Labour party actually get some work done then Ed Balls may be the right candidate.”

“While David Miliband is busy drafting up a credible deficit reduction plan… Ed Balls is just going out there and repeatedly punching the Coalition government in the face. I know which one I prefer.”

“Ed Balls should keep fighting…”

But if you’re talking about ultimately “deliver[ing] a labour victory” then the public image – and, yes, popularity – of a candidate is of utmost importance.

My point was that Sunny has “studiously ignored” the overwhelming evidence and not “picked up” on the fact that everyone (Labour voters, Tory voters, non-voters, undecided voters) seems to agree what a total arse Balls is.

Not only that, but he’s criticised others for engaging with a narrative that the media *is* talking about!

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/03/in-defence-of-ed-balls-again

It’s therefore a bit rich to make a startling “observation” such as this, at such a time. That’s all.

not sure how profound the chart is. a lot of people would have known about David M before the campaign and seen him as the only choice.

since Ed M has become more prominent and is also seen as a challenger, its natural for some David M supporters to have switched.

at this stage it seems people are now familiar with both and will vote for who they like more.

@6

Another rather odd post. Let us reconstruct what prompted my original response.

Sunny wrote: “None of the media has picked up on this change”

You replied to that line: “Nor you apparently…”

The point in the original article that Sunny was referring to with the term “this change” is contained in the immediately preceding sentence: “What’s interesting is that as the race has progressed – sentiment among Labour members actually shifted to Ed Miliband while David Miliband’s stock declined.”

So your response (“Nor you…”) claims that Sunny has not “picked up on” that change.

And yet that change is precisely the point of the article and was stated by Sunny himself.

So once again, I have to observe that it is utterly bizarre for you to claim that Sunny has not “picked up on” a point he himself is making and forms the main point of the article itself.

Now, you follow the line “Nor you, apparently” with the comment “as evidenced by your consistent backing of Balls”.

Recall that the point you are plainly disputing Sunny has “picked up on” with the phrase “Nor you…” is the purported empirical fact that “as the race has progressed – sentiment among Labour members actually shifted to Ed Miliband while David Miliband’s stock declined”.

This a claim about the facts (by which I mean that it is a statement which is either true or false) relating to shifting support by others.

But there is no logical relation between which candidate Sunny supports and any claim regarding the empirical facts about changes in relative levels of support generally. The fact that he supports or has supported Ed Balls demonstrates nothing with regard to his beliefs about which candidate will actually win or about levels of support generally. There is no logical inferential relationship between the two points.

I am sure that makes the points very clear.

“But if you’re talking about ultimately “deliver[ing] a labour victory” then the public image – and, yes, popularity – of a candidate is of utmost importance.”

And that means the popularity amongst swing voters, not Labour party members who are going to vote Labour whoever leads it.

Unfortunately no-one seems to be asking them what they think.

@J

I think you’ve failed to pick up on the praise that has been heaped on Balls since the leadership campaign started – see http://bit.ly/bDXjaW

While I’m an EdM supporter, Balls has certainly run a very effect and professional campaign so far. Maybe it is because he has nothing to lose and is going all out for the leadership but he is the only contender putting the alternative economic view. During the 5 Live husting, Balls was the one prepared to debate the deficit masochists and put the case against early and deep cuts in a coherent and forceful manner.

EdB’s stature within the Labour party has grown enormously, his team were the first to pick up on Gove’s numerous massive cock-ups and has exploited them well. He has turned one of the most articulate tories into a jabbering wreck, reliant on blaming a media conspiracy, teaching unions and his own civil servants for the total washout of his first couple of months in office. You seem to be peddling a narrative dreamt up in central office.

Chris,

“his team were the first to pick up on Gove’s numerous massive cock-ups”

Well, he is the shadow for education isn’t he? It would probably be more accurate to say he is the only contender actually remembering to do his job in a high-profile way.

@8 – you win the “being anal” contest.

But I’m sure anyone can reasonably interpret my comment as referring to the fact that Sunny berates “the media” for failing to pick up a relatively minor trend (35% to 30%, surely within the margin of error) in unofficial polling of a very narrow demographic, whilst totally ignoring the media (and the world) shouting from the rooftops about how bloody awful Ed Balls is.

@10 – whilst Ed Balls has no doubt run a reasonable campaign, it nevertheless remains the case – as evidenced by Sunny’s chart, above – that he is the least popular candidate. And not only with Labour voters; in fact, not only is he is the least popular Labour leadership candidate, he is the least popular politician of any party. (Or he was, last time I checked the polls.)

People hate him more than Mandy!

I’m “peddling” no narrative but my own: I’ve been consistent in my damnation of Balls for years, and more vocally since he made such a colossal mess of education.

I’d actually like to see the Labour party elect someone decent, so they stand half a chance of forcing a draw (at worst) at the next election – if only because they can’t be any more horrific than the Tories.

And I actually agree with Sunny that, on balance, Ed M is the best candidate (as they are all crooks, might as well have the least worst option).

13. Flowerpower

@ 6

Though Ed Balls in some ways may appeal to Sunny’s inner thug, he’s actually come out for Ed Miliband.

@Watchman

Okay, Gove’s cock-ups fell on his lap but he exploited them well. Cheering up Labour members no end by smacking the smug wanker Gove down. Gove has resorted to anonymously briefing the torygraph that the failure of his academies plans is all down to the teaching unions LOL!

@J

The graph is from LabourList’s self-selecting survey, might as well rely on squirting a goat’s intestine into a tea cup and make predictions from that. As I said above EdB has endeared himself by damaging Gove. But has also made significant pronouncements on immigration, the first contender to do so which will play well with certain sections of the electoral college, the economy, etc.

Your narrative of Balls being hated isn’t one I’ve ever encountered, the fear with him was that he’d being Brown but his campaign has dispelled that myth.

Ed Miliband is the only option in taking on the Coalition. He has the intellect and a vision for this Nation. D Miliband just wants to continue on the same path as where Blair and Brown left us.

@14, Chris – how about this:

http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/9700/clegg_more_popular_than_cameron.html

There have been others since then, but that’s the one that stuck in my mind. It appears Ed Balls is actually the least popular politician of any party. I’d say that backs up my claim.

Or how about this YouGov poll from a month ago: http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Pol-Sun-LabSummaryUPDATED-290710.pdf

Again, Balls is dead last. (And only 8% think him “most likeable”, whilst only 6% think he “would make the best PM”…)

Anecdotally, everyone I know who has an opinion on the issue – which, to be fair, is mostly teachers and radical left-wingers – thinks he’s a total ****.

Do you have any evidence that he’s *not* despised?

@12 “you win the ‘being anal’ contest.”

You are called on a mistake, deny it in the face of the freely available evidence then fling an insult when you are exposed. Feeble and drearily predictable.

@17 – I disagree (but then I would).

I made a point; you responded by playing the semantics card. I clarified; you responded by playing semantics again. I suggested you were being anal and clarified again… Rather than engage with anything I had to say – any of the follow-up posts, or links provided – you declared final victory.

Well done.

Feeble and drearily predictable indeed.

I think Lily Allen’s endorsement did it.

I wonder how much this is about initial recognition – the two most famous politicians are the only two whose popularity has gone down by this reading.

@20 – I hate to be a record skipping on a track, but the poll I linked to earlier includes a ‘profile’ rating as well as a net positive / negative.

By their measure (Politics Home rolling average from three weekly polls, weighted by political party identification), of the Labour leadership candidates Ed Balls actually had the highest profile (61), followed by Ed and David Miliband tied on 55.

The only politicians with a higher profile were Cameron, Hague, Mandy and Harriet Harman.

Again, this is why I disagree with the narrative that suggests dislike of Ed Balls etc. is all a right wing plot, and actually people love him.

If you can glean anything from the poll Sunny refers to, in my opinion, it is that one or other of the Milibands is going to win (no surprise there), whilst Ed Balls is consistently the least popular candidate.

Elie – haha! She had some good jokes.

Surely the biggest story from these polls is what’s happened to Diane Abbott?

Not if you look at her performance over the campaign

@J

I’ve been telephone canvassing everyday for two weeks, the top three are EdB, EdM and DM. I’ve barely spoken to an AB or DA supporter. I’d put more on EdB coming third, if I had any; a lot are very impressed by his performance against Gove, views on the economy (the 5Live hustings especially) and on immigration. Another point to him over Burnham and Abbot is he actually has money and thus has sent out a couple of mailshots to party members.

I’d agree with http://bit.ly/dhWoyr EdB’s 2nd prefs will decide it.

Clearly no political scientists read this blog then…

The Labour List polling is utterly meaningless. The readership of the blog is more than likely in no way representative of Labour members.

This is a non-story.

@18

“I made a point; you responded by playing the semantics card”

Semantics? I pointed out that what you said made no sense. It was quite simple.

“I clarified”

Clarified? You got on your hobby horse about Ed Balls, certainly. You could have just said: “Yeah, when I said ‘Nor you…’ to Sunny that was just a mistake. What I mean is…”

“Rather than engage with anything I had to say…”

I have no interest in engaging with you on that particular topic. I was merely concerned, initially, with clarifying what the hell you were talking about when you said Sunny did not apparently understand the very point he himself was making. I would have thought that was obvious by now.

“…you declared final victory.”

Final victory? Bizarre. You denied the obvious in the face of the freely available facts. For no other reason than that you continued to deny the obvious I laid out the facts clearly enough for anyone, yourself included, to understand why your earlier denial lacked any merit. You then responded with an insult. The entire conversation is freely available for anyone to see, right there in black and white.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    How David Miliband's stock has declined since launch http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  2. Tam Chandler

    RT @libcon: How David Miliband's stock has declined since launch http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  3. Ben Furber

    An interesting read. RT @libcon: How David Miliband's stock has declined since launch http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  4. sunny hundal

    The only polling we have shows David Miliband’s stock has declined since launch http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  5. Sacha Zarb

    How self selecting show what you want | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/wn9vZh6 via @libcon

  6. Andy Sutherland

    RT @sunny_hundal: The only polling we have shows David Miliband’s stock has declined since launch http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  7. Philippe Andrews

    How David Miliband's stock has declined since launch | Liberal … http://ht.ly/18NwRO

  8. alexsmith1982

    Interesting post by @Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for Ed Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7

  9. Paul Duxbury

    RT @alexsmith1982: Interesting post by @Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for Ed Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7

  10. sunny hundal

    RT @alexsmith1982: Interesting post by @Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for Ed Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7

  11. Julian Swainson

    RT @sunny_hundal: RT @alexsmith1982: Interesting post by @Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for Ed Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7

  12. Syed Choudhury

    .@Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for Ed Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7 #EM4Leader (via @alexsmith1982)

  13. Syed Choudhury

    .@Sunny_Hundal tracking increasing support for @Ed_Miliband throughout campaign. http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7 (via @alexsmith1982) #EM4Leader #fb

  14. Duncan Bruce

    @jessica_asato Sure theirs this from LabourList http://bit.ly/b3MqeL or this http://bit.ly/bcUdZ7

  15. Our Labour Leadership Predictions « Paperback Rioter

    [...] societies they are a member of. The only trend that we can be sure of is that Ed Miliband has been steadily gaining ground on David throughout this [...]

  16. sunny hundal

    Mike @ PoliticalBetting thinks Ed-Mili will win as members moved towards him http://bit.ly/cidV4y I said this earlier http://bit.ly/ayTF7l

  17. tony walker

    RT @sunny_hundal: Mike @ PoliticalBetting thinks Ed-Mili will win as members moved towards him http://bit.ly/cidV4y I said this earlier http://bit.ly/ayTF7l





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