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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12 Responses to “Miliband poll: The Times fails to see the Sun”

  1. Anthony Wells

    Toby – I should add I wasn’t suspicous of the Times’s intentions on the timing, just the description of it as “leaked”. Calling it leaked makes it sounds more newsworthy and exotic but I expect the Conservative party just chose to release the results to produce a nasty headline for EM.

    That said, sometimes the cynical response is wrong, on occassion these things *genuinely* are leaked. I know of at least one instance of private polling that a party HQ genuinely didn’t want to release, but have had to after more boneheaded frontbenches got the results on their phones and immediately showed journalists.

  2. John Green

    You have made me laugh; not something that happens very often when reading leftfootforward. You berate the Times for not giving enough column inches to a single opinion poll favourable to Labour while you completely ignore the highly significant endorsement given by the IMF to the government’s austerity plans. In the judgment of the IMF, the government will abolish the deficit without a double-dip recession.

    This completely demolishes the one and only plank in the Labour party’s strategy.

    It will be interesting to hear what Brother Ed has to say this afternoon. Apparently, an army of speech writers has been working for three days on his speech. That might leave you thinking that all he has to do now is deliver it. Not so easy. He has the burden of carrying the moniker “Son of Gordon” and of looking like a geek. He knows that the vast majority of his audience in the hall wanted his brother David as leader. He will want to distance himself from the New Labour coalition. However, the legacy is not just the crippled economy and a ruined country that used to be Iraq. More importantly for voters of all persuasions are the attributes that came to define New Labour; lies, sleaze and incompetence, and the sheer rottenness of the senior party members.

    I hope he doesn’t promise to abolish boom and bust, or lower unemployment, or close the poverty gap. We’ve heard all of that before and are still waiting.

  3. Mr. Sensible

    Toby, as you say, this is part of an increasing trend.

    And John, I notice you aren’t willing to give many column inches in your comment to what Osborne’s own OBR said when it downgraded the growth forecasts following Osborne’s budget.

  4. John Green

    Mr Sensible,

    The OBR are not alone in forecasting lower growth. We have very tough times ahead of us. We are not yet feeling the full force of the government’s cuts. People will lose their jobs and we will lose some services we value. We have yet to realise the true consequences of the last government’s gross mismanagement of the economy.

    However, many people who know more about macro economics than I do, and perhaps you do, are confident that the deficit will be abolished within the lifetime of this government without experiencing a double-dip recession. We will probably continue to experience low economic growth for sometime as we struggle through this period of austerity. Brown and Blair et al have taken us back to the 1940s. I know, I was there. After the 40s came the 50s, dark, grim and austere. You won’t enjoy them. If the government is successful with its plans and we can shrink the public sector while increasing output in the private sector, then we can look forward to another period of economic growth and prosperity.

    This will be a great disappointment to all those at the Labour conference praying for the double-dip.

  5. Mr. Sensible

    John, of course no one wants a double-dip.

    But that is the risk.

    Look at what has happened in Ireland; they embarked on austerity and are now back in recession.

    I think it would be a better idea to get tough on the banks.

Comments are closed.