A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Post conference poll

Looks like the good local by-election results last week have been mirrored by the national polls in showing Labour catching up with the Tories - today's Populus poll in the Times has Labour up 3% and narrowing the Tory lead to 1%.

My take on this:

- conference boosted Labour because we looked united
- there's still selling power in the Blair brand
- there isn't a fundamental problem with the public's perception of Labour - they just got brassed off with people infighting and want us to get on with governing
- the Tories are really in big trouble if they can't sustain a lead even with a shiny new leader

The other question put was more worrying: "The poll suggests, however, that David Cameron would comfortably defeat Labour at the next general election in three or four years whether the party were led by Gordon Brown, John Reid or Alan Johnson. Support for the Tories would be 40 per cent or more in each of these cases with Labour reaching no higher than 34 per cent. A consolation for Mr Brown is that Labour would do no better under either Mr Reid or Mr Johnson. "

I think this indicates we face the same dangers as the Democrats did when Clinton went. Brown, Reid and Johnson each have many qualities but they ain't Tony Blair in terms of charisma any more than Gore was Clinton.

To deal with this we need to ensure that the leadership election burnishes rather than tarnishes the images of all the contenders - in the same way that US Presidential contenders use the primaries to establish a resonant persona with the electorate ahead of the full elections. To do this we need a positive campaign where the candidates talk themselves up not their opponents down.

And we need to acknowledge that Blair will be a key campaigner endorsing Brown or whoever else in 2009/10 - who can pull in a particular segment of the electorate - not freeze him out like Gore did Clinton.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Andrea said...

" there's still selling power in the Blair brand"

The fact that the headline figures (normal voting intention question) produced a better result for Labour than the Brown/Reid/Johnson question can be related to Blair's selling power, but there's also the possibility that it isn't.
Some months ago (IIRC the July) poll, Populus asked the normal question and they got a 2% Con lead, then they asked the voting intention question prompting for current leaders names (Cameron, Blair and Ming) and they got a 7% Con lead.

9:17 am, October 10, 2006

 
Blogger Hughes Views said...

I'm quite optimistic, such hypothetical polling questions usually produce strange results. Whoever becomes the leader will have several months to present himself to the nation and become more popular with them before an election.

I assume, and probably hope, it will be Gordon Brown. He needs to work on his presentation skills but we dour, thrifty men in our mid fifties can be quite jolly given the slightest encouragement. The campaign to distance him from the Iraq disaster seems to have started with the early publication of David Blunkett's memoirs.

Of course were John McDonnell to win, I'm told the next election would be a breeze. It's curious that Populus neglected to ask about him, meeja bias I 'spect ...

9:33 am, October 10, 2006

 
Anonymous politicalcorrespondent said...

Andrea is right - this tells us little about Blair because there was no question on Blair v Cameron only the standard voting intention question, whereas there is always a far greater Tory lead when you mention Cameron no matter who is posed as Labour leader.

We'll write a bit on this later.

1:39 pm, October 10, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

The fact that when Cameron is mentioned the Con lead goes up can suggest that Brand Cameron has a good selling power (more than his party)...a strategy that Labour can try is to separate Cameron from his party "Dave can be nice, but his party isn't..so pay attention you wouldn't just put Dave in Downing Street, but also the Wintertons, Ed Leigh, Widdy and co"

2:07 pm, October 10, 2006

 

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