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 09, 2007

The "collapse" that wasn't

There's been a lot of nonsense spouted since Saturday about a "collapse" in Labour's poll ratings having prompted the decision not to call an election, Brown having got his strategy all wrong, etc., etc.

Today's Populus Poll in the Times shows that actually Labour support went UP during the week of Tory conference:
CON 38% (+2)
LAB 40% (+1)
LIB DEM 12% (-3)

So the reality is both Labour and the Tories benefited from the conference season, and the LDs are in a really deep mess.

Labour's poll rating is only 1% off the highest Populus has recorded since they started doing polls for the Times in January 2002, and 4% higher than our score when we won the last General Election.

To be on 40% midway through the third term against a charismatic opposition leader who has just flung the kitchen sink plus tax cuts against you in a week of TV coverage is amazing.

Let's have a bit less carping and a bit more confidence.

One side issue - the last two weeks show conferences really are important in determining people's perceptions of the parties - even more reason why it was right to dump the annual contemporary resolutions slanging match.

18 Comments:

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

"One side issue - the last two weeks show conferences really are important in determining people's perceptions of the parties - even more reason why it was right to dump the annual contemporary resolutions slanging match."

Can you spell out your reasoning there?

This year's was the last so-called annual contemporary resultions slanging match and, as you say, it didn't seem to do us any harm.

11:23 am, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

We didn't have any votes on them that's why.

11:24 am, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

And if we had seen a vote or two, we would not have enjoyed a bounce in the polls.

Right oh.

12:03 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

It was the lead that was squandered that is the issue, not a collapse in support.

As for the idea that the Tammany Hall deal between Brown and the Unions to avoid votes at the 2007 Annual Conference had any bearing on propping up Labour support in the polls..where's your evidence?

More serious is Brown's apparent complacency about how to win in the marginals as highlighted here:

http://petergkenyon.typepad.com/peterkenyon/

If he does not include legislation for election spending caps in the Queen's speech, then maybe we need a new Leader pdq.

12:35 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Will Parbury said...

Peter you've only just finish slagging off the old leader and now you calling for the head of the new one. Who do you think you are? Susan Press ;-) Give the guy a break.

parburypolitica.wordpress.com

12:39 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Peter

we can affect our own level of support. We can't wholly control the lead as that depends on a variable - the relative performance of the Tories and LDs - that is totally outside Labour's control. I.e. you can't accuse Brown of squandering the lead because it went down because the Tories took votes off the LDs.

12:46 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"Peter you've only just finish slagging off the old leader and now you calling for the head of the new one."

I don't think anyone's calling for anyone's head but it would be inconsistent not to criticise a new leader when he operates in a similar fashion to the old one.

I broadly agree with Luke's suggestion that the post-conference polls aren't unexpectedly bad but that doesn't get us any closer to explaining GB's decision to march us up to the top of the hill then march us down again.

If a minor increase in Tory support was going to be enough reason to ditch the plans for a snap election, the plans were pretty stupid in the first place.

1:17 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Will

"Give the guy a break" ... over marginals and election spending caps you must be joking?

My middle name is not Lemming.

Good try on polling performance, Luke, but we lost our advantage by not pressing ahead with the fairness agenda at our own Conference, to be judged at an Election in due course. Instead we passed the baton to the Tories and then appeared surprised when we got whacked around the back of the head.

1:18 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke I cannot understand your logic i.e.

"we can affect our own level of support. We can't wholly control the lead as that depends on a variable - the relative performance of the Tories and LDs - that is totally outside Labour's control."

I don't see how you can differentiate between supposed control of one or the other. Moreover, it's wrong to say that the lead depends on "a variable - the relative performance of the Tories and LDs". The lead is dependent on a whole host of factors.

I tend to side with Peter when he says "It was the lead that was squandered that is the issue" But I also agree with you that there is no evidence of a 'collapse' as such. In fact the problem for both major parties is that neither seems much able to create a sustained and significiant (repeat sustained and significant) movement much beyond their respective core shares.

As for the polls, they will be, increasingly, volatile because this volatility reflects the extent to which our UK political class is out-of-touch with the electorate... and the increasing proportion of the population that is non-electors.

Gordon Brown will now presumably ensure that he is never again so (visibly) a hostage to 'what the latest polls say'

1:20 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Ted

you say: "neither seems much able to create a sustained and significiant (repeat sustained and significant) movement much beyond their respective core shares."

Our core share is regarded by all pollsters as about 30% - we are running 10% above that and have been in the high 30s ever since the leadership election.

i.e. both sustained and significant.

1:45 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Ian G said...

While I'd like to share your optimism Luke, a qualification to these figures is that the polling was carried out before Brown's announcement so I have a strong feeling the next set of polls will be much worse. (I'd love to be wrong!)

Also, on your point about conference, I've no desire to see us tearing chunks out of each other but if it's an either/or choice between being a democratic party and a popular party we may as well all give up now.

2:13 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

There are other ways of having a democratic debate than doing it in a big hall by the seaside with TV cameras there.

2:16 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

And 'consensual' policy-making with no means of subsequently amending policy other than rejecting it out-of-hand is not one of them.

2:24 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger Hughes Views said...

"even more reason why it was right to dump the annual contemporary resolutions slanging match" - quite right Luke. Even though it may displease some of the exhibitionists in the party, there are plenty of opportunities to have real discussions away from the eagle eyes of the world's media. Much better than having unreal ones in front of the rolling cameras...

3:12 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Shambolic said...

Luke Akehurst said...

There are other ways of having a democratic debate than doing it in a big hall by the seaside with TV cameras there.

eh?

6:34 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Blogger susan said...

I can assure you Peter does not think he is me......or vice versa. Brown's performance in the past few days has been abominable. Likewise Darling's appropriation of inheritance tax policy utterly predictable and depressing.....

6:49 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke, I'm not saying that Labour has not enjoyed a lead in the polls over an appreciable time.

Nevertheless, the point about the core shares stands inthat the figures you quote were, as it turns out, not and sustainable.

What Gordon Brown wanted was a greater lead, to be sure as he could possibly be about winning a substantial majority at the very least near to the Blair legacy.

The long-term growing volatility I referred to is a critical factor.

10:02 pm, October 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Michael said...

"One side issue - the last two weeks show conferences really are important in determining people's perceptions of the parties - even more reason why it was right to dump the annual contemporary resolutions slanging match."

Appearence and seeming triumph over reality and democracy - why? Because the labour party showing itself honestly and openly to the public is bad for the polls? Perceptions are deemed more important than realities so long as its good for the polls, afterall what kind of a political party needs votes and conferemces in the first place? Not one that wants to win win win!

9:45 pm, October 10, 2007

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 
Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount