Former Blair adviser says Cameron not in “strong position”

David Cameron is polling nowhere near as good as Tony Blair at the same stage of the electoral cycle.

Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, Tony Blair’s former Director of Strategic Communications, has written on his blog that David Cameron is still some way behind Blair in 1996. Wegg-Prosser, Director of Strategy at one of Russia’s largest online media companies, has written on his blog:

“Taking Mori data Labour had not slipped below 48 percentage points from the moment that Blair became leader and had peaked at 61 per cent. Cameron today is in nothing like as strong a position, his ratings have touched 52 per cent but have also gone a low as 28 per cent. Crucially, Labour has shown it can eat into the Tories’ lead, as it did this week, during the peak financial crisis last year and during Brown’s early months in office.

“I suspect that the decision [of The Sun] to fall in behind Cameron has more to do with: the Sun’s declining circulation (they love a drop of good PR in East London); the fact that News International’s new chief executive wants to flex her political muscles; and pressure from the Tories who want to bring the paper’s still considerable campaigning weight behind their efforts as we enter the home straight of the electoral cycle.”

And Cameron has been dealt a further blow by YouGov’s latest tracker poll which saw the Tory lead over Labour cut in half from 16 points to seven – the Tories on 37 per cent (down three) and Labour on 30 per cent (up six).

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12 Responses to “Former Blair adviser says Cameron not in “strong position””

  1. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron nowhere near as popular as Blair:

  2. Simon

    Desperate stuff, these tracker polls mean nothing during party conferences because at each conference only one party gets any publicity. Let’s see what the Tory lead is next week after Dave’s speech. It will be late October before its worth looking at polls again. Secondly, all polling organisations have updated their methodology in the last 12 years so comparisons with pre 97 polls are worthless. This is all basic stuff for anyone interested in politics.

  3. Silent Hunter

    So let me get this straight!
    A former advisor to Tony The Liar, says something about Cameron, and we’re supposed to take notice of it . . .


  4. Swagata

    Perhaps Cameron isn’t in as strong a position as Blair but that’s always unlikely, Blair won a landslide and the polls suggest a more modest Conservative gain.

    But the article rather ignores the position of Brown. Would you care to discuss his poll ratings? Progressives might be concerned that his personal ratings are so low that he could be the factor that gives the Conservatives a majority.

  5. willstraw

    Simon – I included the YouGov tracker poll since it hadn’t been covered elsewhere. Odd, in my view, given how much prominence was given to the polls earlier in the week. But your first point is a good one. On the second point, the methods have certainly been updated but Ben’s analysis included a range. Cameron’s range is well below that of Blair’s so I think it is fine (and interesting) to compare the two.

    Silent – I’m not asking anyone to take notice, just posting something I thought was interesting.

    Swagata – The ComRes poll published at the start of the week certainly suggested that Labour would do better under a different leader. The counter argument is (a) the public would regard a leadership contest as self-indulgent during the recession, and (b) the poll showed that some potential replacements would do better than others but given the electoral system that Labour uses it would be impossible to predict the winner before a contest started.

  6. Benjamin W-P

    Simon – if you read my post you will see that I make reference to Mori data being far from perfect, but an ok guide to comparing like with like. Of course all of the polling orgs have updated their methodology, but regardless of that, the sheer size and scale of Blair’s lead pre 1997 is way ahead of the Tories today. And, crucially, that support is brittle.

  7. Benjamin W-P

    Silent Hunter – and why exactly should people pay attention to you, given that you have decided to conceal your identity?

  8. Swagata

    Will: some sensible counter arguments there. I still think Labour should have taken the steps to change leader. Yes there’s a recession on but a conference is always a self-indulgent moment.

    Benjamin W-P: perhaps Silent Hunter is at work and doesn’t want their name on the internet when they’re supposed to be on duty, or perhaps they want to express political views at odds with their employer. Internet anonymity is not always something to sneer at, it can be liberating. But you can sneer at Silent Hunter’s agressive ad hominem tone.

  9. Simon

    I would agree that Blair was in a stronger position pre 97 than Dave is now. However, I think that has more to do with the general anti politician mood which has grown in strenth in recent years. But if you insist on these comparisions why not compare Brown’s ratings with Major’s too?

  10. Shamik Das

    Simon, if it’s good enough for Andrew Cooper of Populus to directly conpare Cameron now to Tony in 1994-97, it’s good enough for me.

    Swagata, I think changing leader now would be disastrous, both for the party and the country.

  11. Simon

    Shamik, businessmen seldom rubbish their own products. Populus is a commercial organisation after all. Anyway, on a general note its good to see a civilised leftish web site up and running.

  12. Madasafish

    Latest Daily YouGov poll gives a 14% lead to the Tories.

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