Some in and around the Fourth Estate are getting terribly excited by the latest YouGov poll for the Murdoch Sun, which has Labour and the Tories both on 36% - level pegging for the first time in many months. This has roused the readily excitable part of the right leaning punditry to an ecstatic state this morning, clearly oblivious to the caveats voiced by the same organisation that did the polling.
Anthony Wells of YouGov cautioned: “it could be that the Tories have actually caught up with Labour after a couple of polls showing the lead down to three or four points… but just as likely that it’s just a bit of an outlier. It’s the trend that counts”, but this was immediately ignored by the loathsome Toby Young, aka Captain Bellend, who clearly still has his eyes on being Tory candidate for Hammersmith in 2015.
“Ed Miliband has frittered away a 14-pt lead in the past year, quite an achievement for an Opposition leader at this point in the political cycle” he gushes enthusiastically, continuing “This is the latest in a slew of bad polls for Miliband”, and then discussing results from two other polls, but not the same question put by YouGov, which is voting intention. Spin away, Tobes, if it makes you feel better.
And spin he does: “Hard to imagine worse news for Miliband on the eve of Labour's annual party conference. By now, it must have dawned on even the most die-hard Labour loyalists that their leader is a dud. I still think he's odds on to lead the party into the 2015 general election, but those odds are narrowing by the day”. Perhaps Tobes really believes this. But perhaps he should think again.
The raw, unweighted data from that poll gives Labour a lead of between 5% and 6%. The weighting includes giving a much stronger emphasis to those who read the Sun and Daily Star, while at the same time marking down those who read the Guardian. And there are other problems: the Tory Party has shipped around half of its membership since Young Dave became leader.
This has translated to local parties being unable even to organise a competently run by-election campaign, as happened at Eastleigh. Local Tories could not even pinpoint likely Tory voters when their big guns arrived to help the campaign. It was not just Maria Hutchings that lost them the opportunity to regain a seat that had been solidly Conservative from 1955 to 1994.
Tobes and his pals can snipe at Labour links with Trades Unions all they like, but recently we have seen Tory MPs getting entangled in fringe groups like Traditional Britain, whose stance on race is downright poisonous. Tory funding remains less than transparent. And even the Telegraph’s chief political commentator Peter Oborne is sounding supportive of Mil The Younger.
Stick to polecatting for Michael “Oiky” Gove, Tobes. You sound less daft that way.