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Friday 26 February 2010

The Lead Narrows

Young Dave’s lead in the opinion polls was well into double figures not long ago. No longer: a poll for the Maily Telegraph by Ipsos Mori puts it at a mere 5%. Moreover, it is suggested that, with these poll numbers, Pa Broon could end up leading the largest party at Westminster, and thus be first to be asked to form a Government following the election.

And that lead is in single figures in polls elsewhere: the Murdoch Sun is doing a “daily poll” that shows a 6% advantage for the Tories. So you might think that the Maily Telegraph would be headlining this story, given that it’s their poll. You would be wrong: the story is only on the front page of their website through being in the “most viewed” list. And the headline stresses the potential greater number of seats for Labour, rather than the lead of only 5%.

Why should that be? Well, despite all the flak thrown at the paper suggesting that it is no longer a reliable Tory supporter, the Maily Telegraph is pretty obviously leaning towards Young Dave. And the Sun makes no secret of its affiliation: its headline avoids mentioning that Cameron’s lead is only six points, and stresses instead the 1% rise in Tory support (while ignoring Labour’s similar advance). Roger Ailes would have approved.

Meanwhile, Young Dave might consider another statistic: he’s expected to come out of the forthcoming leaders’ debates well ahead of the field. If he merely does as well as Pa Broon and Corporal Clegg, that will fuel an inevitable disappointment, and if he does less well than Brown, well, the Tories will be most reluctant to go there.


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