Rx Cialis Low Price Where Can I Buy Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment Nexium Online Pharmacy Can You Buy Codeine And Promethazine Cheep Daily Cialis

Why are commentators obsessed with useless post-budget polling?


8:45 am - December 7th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Can you grab a person from the street and ask them if they remember any three things from George Osborne’s recent budget statement? I bet a significant percentage portion wouldn’t even recall the budget itself.

Most people simply don’t have time to pay attention to the news or even understand it in detail. Us politicos are a very small minority.

So it frustrates me that Westminster commentators keep over-estimating how much attention the public pay to the news and subsequent poll movements. Today has two such examples.

Here is Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian:

Is the opposition fated to watch powerless as the government pulls the national belt ever tighter, even as growth tumbles further towards the zero mark and recession, because the voters won’t back any other course of action? Support for that view came in the weekend polls, suggesting that far from taking a hit after last week’s recitation of gloom and doom, Osborne’s ratings had either held firm or increased, putting the Tories a nose ahead of Labour. It is a remarkable thought, one that reverses all political conventional wisdom, which normally insists that when the economy tanks, so do the fortunes of the incumbent government.

And Andrew Grice in the Independent today too:

The concern amongst Labour MPs will be heightened by the latest poll of polls by The Independent showing that the party has gained no ground despite a month of gloomy economic statistics that have called the Coalition’s cuts strategy into question.

Looking at polling immediately after a budget just doesn’t make any sense, unless it is a catastrophic event.

Instead it makes more sense to look at polling over a longer period of time. And here is where the real story lies.

People have moved in favour of Labour’s position on the economy – especially Libdem voters.

Meanwhile, 60% of people think the government is handling the economy badly. That figure was 25% last year in June.

Labour is also rated ahead of the Conservatives on ‘encouraging growth’ and ‘creating jobs’ by voters for the first time.

In both cases Labour opinion is hardening against the Coalition and Libdem support is draining away from Osborne and Cameron.

Of course it will be a while before voters (let alone the media) give them a fair hearing – Labour faced its second-worst defeat ever just eighteen months ago. Who expects voters to be so forgiving so quickly?

At least Jonathan Freedland recognises this in his analysis later. Labour cannot expect quick gains after such a loss of trust amongst voters last year. Looking at the post-budget polling misses the wood for the trees.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Economy

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


“Of course it will be a while before voters (let alone the media) give them a fair hearing”

Oh I think they’re quite capable of giving Labour a fair hearing, it’s just that that would lead to never letting them near the economy ever again.

Like how the Tories were certain to win the last election? *snort*

3. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Good intro ; the fact that no one is interested in politics.
Let down at the end though, by saying voters will eventually give Labour a fair hearing. Are these the ones not interested in politics?
Bit of a contradiction in the theory I’d say.

4. Man on Clapham Omnibus

@2 Sunny – they did!

@4 A massive landslide in their favour was expected, it didn’t happen. Before the Lib Dems helped prop them up the Tories were gearing up to tear Cameron to pieces for failing to give them what they thought was theirs by right.

There will be snowballs in hell before the people of this country would vote for Ed Miliband as Prime Minister – he is hopeless and the polls consistently show it.

That’s why they are “obsessed with” post ANYTHING polling because the media, like the rest of the electorate, realise the demise of the Labour Party in it’s current form is only a matter of time whilst that unrepresentable individual remains leader.

Elections are won in the middle ground and Labour, with clowns like Ed Balls and Harriet Harman just turn the voters off.

What is really bad is that Labour don’t see it. They were out of touch at the end of their term here but only after Brown took over – currently they are on a different planet and a New New Labour project needs to be initiated immediately if they want to retain any credibility…

A massive landslide in their favour was expected.

Who by? Only one election ever has seen a party with less than 200 seats going in to the election win a majority, and that was the rather unusual case of 1945. For the Tories to have won ‘a massive landslide’ they would have had to have won something like 250 new seats – something they have never done under their own auspices, and something that Tony Blair didn’t manage in 1997 – hell Atlee didn’t get that many!

People do seem to be forgetting that the strategy that the Tories were working towards had been intended as a two election strategy, and that it was only the stratospheric uselessness of Gordon Brown that enabled them to get so close in one try.

Commentators are obsessed with polling because it’s easier to write nonsense about a poll with liberal use of ‘ctrl c’ and ‘ctrl v’, than it is to do some research about an actual issue of importance. All polling reflects is the line the media has taken on an issue in the previous month.

The Parliamentary Labour Party are actually getting a fair hearing, it us just that they have been telling people that the deficit was:

1) All Brown/Blair’s* fault (delete as your faction dicates)
2) Caused by spending on the NHS/disabled
3) That the Tories would not be making ideological cuts.
4) The poor should bear the brunt of the cuts.

The problem with the PLP is that they are weather vanes, always pointing the way the prevailing wind of the media was blowing. When the wind changes direction, they happen to follow, but as the Labour Party were not talking about the things that really matter to people at the time, then they where just white noise.

Now the tide is slowly turning the Labour Party are lagging behind public opinion and are merely white noise.

Had they been bolder before the election, perhaps playing the long game and looking past the result of that election, they have had been in front of public opinion and perhaps the public would have been more open to their message as their predictions were proved right? You can hardly bang on and on about the need for cuts and then when people turn off the idea of cuts, pretend that cuts were a bad idea and expect to get away with it.

Hey, I have just thought about something, why not have a leadership contest and get the spotlight away from Osborne’s folly? Let us focus on the Labour Party’s problems instead?

I grew up when Reagan had his bony finger and feeble mind over the World’s self destruct button, but although the Labour Party do not have the ability to blow up the Planet, they retain the same gene and eagerness for self destruction that Regan had.

It would be funny if it was not so fucking sad.

10. Chaise Guevara

To be fair, if public opinion had shifted sharply away from the Tories after the budget statement, LC would have run with a title like “Public Rejects Tory Budget” or possibly even “It’s Official: Everyone Thinks Osborne’s A Dick”.

“Most people simply don’t have time to pay attention to the news or even understand it in detail. Us politicos are a very small minority.”

Thank fuck for the elite “politicos” like yourself then, who are not only possess vast intellects capable of actually understanding the news (apparently unlike the vast majority of us plebs), but oh-so-generously devote their time to writing a whole load of wank about it online.

“… it frustrates me that Westminster commentators keep over-estimating how much attention the public pay to the news and subsequent poll movements…”

And: here’s a poll!

Can you grab a person from the street and ask them if they remember any three things from George Osborne’s recent budget statement?

I just did.

Though, to be honest, it was from the queue at Starbucks rather than the street (too cold).

These (in order of recall) were the three things:

* Increases in petrol duty have been scrapped

* Lots more spending on infrastructure – roads, housing, new schools

* More help for people trying to buy a home/ get onto housing ladder

I pressed for a fourth and got it:

* the mess Labour left behind was even worse than the Coalition had so far realized, according to independent experts {when prompted, interlocutor agreed this was the OBR}.

I did one last follow-up question:

Q. Do you think the sluggish growth is the Coalition’s fault for making big cuts too soon, or is it caused by trouble in the Eurozone, or is it Labour’s fault?

Answer (verbatim):

Probably a bit of all three….. but there again there wouldn’t have to be cuts if Gordon Brown had been more prudent, so I can’t see how you can blame Cameron or Clegg.

(This person had voted Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Voted LibDem in 2010 – Why? “Iraq mostly, and impressed by Clegg in the TV debate..” )

So, opinion poll findings not surprising, then.

@13 – so did I. But it was at costa coffee instead.

The person replied with “george who?”

And the lesson we learn for today is that people go to costa coffee aren’t interested in politics.

Spot on Sunny.

16. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 Tim J

“you mean like this one?”

Can’t tell at a glance whether those claims are better justified than those based on post-budget polling… but yes, I’d expect something along those lines.

Of course, none of this actually means that the article’s point is incorrect.

17. Leon Wolfson

@6 – Oh yes, your usual narrative. You only have one track.

You want Labour to commit suicide. Right, and?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why are commentators obsessed with useless post-budget polling? http://t.co/AHA82FOG

  2. sunny hundal

    Why Westminster commentators (incl @j_freedland) shouldn't pay attention to short-term polls http://t.co/M1n0qhkJ – look at longer trends

  3. Chris Paul

    Why Westminster commentators (incl @j_freedland) shouldn't pay attention to short-term polls http://t.co/M1n0qhkJ – look at longer trends

  4. Alex Braithwaite

    Why are commentators obsessed with useless post-budget polling? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/fQOMk1rS via @libcon





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.