Miliband poll: The Times fails to see the Sun

In spite of sharing the same proprietor as the Sun, The Times has virtually ignored the YouGov results. They are buried at the very end of an 800 word article reporting a "leaked" Populus poll for the Conservatives which finds David is seen as the more prime-ministerial brother. And it seems that the significance of the Populus poll's findings can be called to question.

Labour have overtaken the Conservatives for the first time since 2007, with a YouGov poll for the Sun putting them on 40 per cent, Cameron’s party on 39%, and the Lib Dems on 12%. No doubt this is partly the result of a conference spike, but it fits the trend of rising poll support for Labour as the implications of Coalition cuts become clear.

In spite of sharing the same proprietor as the Sun, The Times has virtually ignored the YouGov results. They are buried at the very end of an 800 word article reporting a “leaked” Populus poll for the Conservatives which finds David Miliband is seen as the more prime-ministerial brother. Anthony Wells at UK Polling Report is suspicious of The Times’ intentions:

“I suspect “leaked” in the paper may translate as “deliberately released on the day after Ed Miliband became leader to undermine him now it’s too late for Labour to pick the good one”.”

And it seems that the significance of the Populus poll’s findings can be called to question. It was undertaken almost a month ago, at the beginning of September, and is based largely on people’s immediate reaction to the brothers’ campaign videos, which are just two minutes long.

They are very different videos, and appear to reflect the disparities in funding between the Milibands at the start of their campaigns. David is shown making speeches from podiums. He is depicted alongside Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. There is a strong, authoritative message: in a 2 minute  11 second video, the word ‘passion’ is used by various people ten times, ‘strong’ four times. It’s put to rock music, and is so sharply edited it could be a montage in a feature film.

Ed’s video, on the other hand, has no music. He could have filmed much of it at home: it mainly consists of him speaking into a camera, spelling out his arguments in far greater detail than David. It is clearly designed to appeal to Labour Party members, not the country at large. Change is, of course, the main theme. The two contrasting images are a worldly statesman versus a less experienced, ‘turn the page’ candidate. The Times poll is therefore hardly surprising, let alone unsettling, for the Ed-led Labour Party.

The Sun/ YouGov poll found Ed Miliband has important work to do in raising his public profile. While just 10% of respondents could not match a single characteristic (out of a choice of ‘decisive’, ‘strong’, ‘charismatic’ etc) to David Cameron, 44% failed to say anything about Ed Miliband. In spite of this ignorance, 25% of respondents saw Ed Miliband as the best prime minister just days into his job as leader of the opposition (a 5 point increase from last week), while the incumbent Cameron scored 38%.

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