As Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was one of the headline guests today on The Andy Marr Show (tm), it was inevitable that there would be counter spin from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. So it was that Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham seized upon an opinion poll sample of one to demonstrate the superior insight available only to someone of his warped outlook.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears
Under the Ron Hopeful-style headline “Labour Lose 7 Point Lead In A Month”, Wickham tells his adoring public “A month ago Labour had a 7 point lead with Survation. That has disappeared following the Skripals, anti-Semitism and Syria. The Tories are up 3 points, Labour are down 4” before concluding in no style at all “Jezza’s positions over the last month may not be as popular as he thinks”. Yeah, right.
Sadly, there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. The only way that Wickham can reach his conclusion is to strip out all the other recent opinion polls, all of which suggest a similar picture to that painted by Survation - and all of which painted a far more optimistic picture for the Tories before last year’s General Election reverse, as Mike Smithson has pointed out.
First, “First voting poll from ComRes since GE2017 CON 40 LAB 41 LD 7 UKIP 4 GRN 2”. Their findings even show a small Labour lead. And don’t forget, at the start of the last General Election campaign, Labour were way behind with most pollsters. What might happen with a Corbyn campaign starting from level pegging? But The Great Guido doesn’t want to go there. Nor does he want to mention Opinium.
But Smithson has that one too: “LAB & CON level-pegging with Opinium for Observer Opinium/Observer: CON 40 (-2) LAB 40 (=) LD 7 +1”. That one shows the Tories losing ground. And just to emphasise how close those polls are, Smithson has summarised them, concluding that there have been “Four voting intention polls in past 24 hours with almost exactly the same CON LAB picture”. A bad starting point for another campaign.
And if the Fawkes rabble want to talk about Survation, there is also the small matter of the Syria bombing. To no surprise at all, while that pollster has surveyed the issue, the Fawkes massive has ignored their findings. Why might that be? As if you need to ask. “Do you support the UK bombing of Syria? Survation Yes 36% No 40% DK 24%”. A majority do not support Theresa May’s bombing campaign. And it gets worse.
On the more specific question of whether the Prime Minister should have gone ahead without MPs’ backing, Survation shows a substantial thumbs down: “Was TMay right to order strikes on Syria without MPs backing? Survation Yes 30% No 54% DK 16%”. That’s a 24 point lead for Jezza’s position. What you will not read on the Fawkes blog.
Only Alex Wickham could see a whole raft of adverse figures for the Tories, ignore the lot, and instead fasten onto the only positive one. It takes a uniquely diseased mindset to do that, day in, day out. And it takes very little time indeed to pick apart.