You have to hand it to Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Sun. They commission a regular opinion poll from YouGov, but not every week’s result makes it into the paper, at least not until it can be spun to the advantage of the Tories and to attack Labour. So it has been with the last two examples, with last week’s only getting a mention a week late.
Who writes Sun editorials? Who'd ya bladdy think?!?
“Labour’s poll lead falls to just 7%” proclaimed the Sun today. It had? This would have been news to most readers. “A YouGov poll for The Sun today puts Labour on 40 per cent — seven points ahead of the Tories. But a week ago the party was on 42 per cent — 14 points ahead”. Indeed it was. But that poll a week ago, although published by YouGov, was initially suppressed by the Sun.
And with good reason: it showed the Tory vote share had sunk to a mere 28%, or to put it more bluntly, 2.7% less than “Shagger” Major had secured in 1997. The Labour poll rating, 42%, was just 1.2% less than Tone secured at that contest. A General Election returning those kinds of numbers would see the Tories reduced to around 160 MPs, and a Labour majority of over 150.
This was all too much to allow Sun readers to see: only a future poll showing a narrowing of the Labour lead would allow the information to be released. But the release would also have to be carefully spun, and so readers are told that the falling Labour lead is down to “Big guns’ rap”. John Reid, last heard of back in 2007, had said something about Mil The Younger.
Reid’s intervention is than matched up with that by David Blunkett (who is on the Murdoch payroll) to pretend that Miliband is in some kind of deep trouble. And he broke his wrist too! But this is complete crap: during the past week, the public has been barraged by non-stop Thatcher tributes, with even some broadcasters, as I pointed out yesterday, going OTT in praise for the former PM.
The poll was apparently taken after the not-quite-state funeral and the less than totally accurate accounts of massive crowds and a packed St Paul’s Cathedral (the latter, as I pointed out yesterday, requiring some very minor figures indeed to be roped in to fill the pews). So the Tories have scored a “Thatcher sympathy bounce”. But Labour remains at or above 40%.
And 40%, with the Tories able to get no further than 33%, will do very nicely, especially if, as is likely, the latter number sinks back below 30% in later polls. The Coalition is proving less than universally popular, despite the Sun’s fawning support of its majority partner. But the hacks dare not let the readers know.
Not that they’re under orders from Murdoch, of course. What a bunch of cowards.
On UKpollingreport when this survey came out it was pointed out that this variation was well within the polls' margin of error (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/7290), and generally, over the month of April, there's been not much movement in any direction (from any pollster). Of course, the Sun's readers are not quite as statistically literate as Anthony Wells (who runs UKpollingreport) so won't get that nuance, so it's definitely the 'kick Labour' angle to the article that readers will take away from it.
I have a general rule that if any poll appears on the front page of a paper, I ignore it.
Suffice to say no paper of any political leaning grabs attention by saying "Poll latest: nothing we didn't know already."
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