The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog pretend on occasion to be keen to put the boot in on both the Red and Blue teams. That this is yet more pisspoor spin has been demonstrated by another laughably slanted slice of presentation designed to prop up Tory morale, this time by selectively presenting – or in most cases not presenting – opinion poll findings.
I don't have to consider facts, cos I'm on telly!
“Tories Go Ahead With 5% Jump Giving 2% Lead” proclaims the Ron Hopeful-style headline, which is then supported by a stab-in-the-dark slice of analysis, expressed in the kind of shonky grammar, and containing the kind of iffy punctuation, that suggests the author was the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole. The poll that the post has fixed upon is one in the Ashcroft series.
“Ashcroft has released his weekly poll and the Tory number has jumped significantly. Why? First of all nobody cares about Coulson’s conviction. The voters think they are all the same, Coulson, McBride, Baldwin – meh, whatever. So what is it?” tells the less than Pulitzer-standard prose. The conclusion is that Young Dave telling those jolly rotten foreigners what he thinks has done the trick.
Quite apart from the woefully thin analysis, and the thought that, whatever Damian McBride got up to, he didn’t get guilty in a court of law – and Tom Baldwin is still in post – there is something missing here. In fact, there are at least three things missing here, these being other polls whose fieldwork was done at about the same time, and whose results are rather different to Ashcroft.
Also published at the weekend, as I noted at the time, were a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, showing a Labour lead of 4%, and a Populus poll showing something similar. Added to that was a Survation poll showing Mil The Younger and his pals a whole 9% in front, which would put him in 10 Downing Street with an overall majority of around a hundred. The Fawkes folks missed those.
Or, putting it more directly, they chose to miss them. Perhaps the excuse for that will be that the Ashcroft fieldwork was more recent? Pull the other one: YouGov’s research from the same time, for today’s Sun, shows a 2% lead, but for Labour. Why not mention that alongside Ashcroft? Ah, but that is not the name of the game, and nor is complete honesty about the chosen poll.
What Ashcroft also said – and which has been widely disseminated today – was that, in as many as 17 Lib Dem seats, Labour is set to take these next year. The seats involved would include Manchester Withington, which Labour lost in 2005 in the wake of discontent over the Iraq adventure. There is, as ever, more to the polling game than the headline numbers, which the Fawkes rabble won’t report properly.
The Great Guido is full value for that 4% positive trust rating. Another fine mess.
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