Another day, another opinion poll, and another array of excuses as to why the numbers do not yield the nominal result that those making them would like to see. Nowhere can this be seen in such sharp focus as at the Murdoch Sun, which commissions YouGov to give it a daily snapshot of public opinion, only to discard many of the results as they do not accord with the paper’s wishes.
And to be fair to Rupe’s downmarket troops, they are not the only ones wanting to not only pick and choose their polls, but also wilfully exaggerate the ones on which they choose to report. This week’s responses have been a case in point, as more than one poll showed Labour’s previously stable lead declining, and all was forgotten as this was immediately held to herald a Tory resurgence.
“Labour's poll lead evaporates as parties gear up for election ... A ComRes poll gives Labour a one per cent lead over the Tories (33 per cent) with the Conservatives on 32 per cent” trilled the Maily Telegraph. Moreover, “A YouGov poll in The Sun gives Labour a two per cent lead at 37 per cent, over the Tories (35 per cent)”. Hack Christopher “No” Hope was beside himself.
And he might as well not have bothered, because, after “Auguste” Balls made his 50p top rate of income tax statement, and the Tories proved to be a total shambles as they worked themselves into a lather over foreign-born criminals and whether they could make them stateless, thereby hoping to make themselves look jolly tough, the electorate had shifted once again.
Behold the spin of Ron Hopeful
So when today’s YouGov poll for the Sun appeared, the Tory cheerleaders all went quiet as they digested a Labour poll lead of a whopping 10%, which would translate into a Commons majority for Mil The Younger of well over 100 seats, including, hopefully, City of Chester, Reading East and Cannock Chase. No link was published to a Sun story, so it is assumed that the paper once again failed to run with it.
Instead, a clearly embarrassed Tom Newton Dunn, the paper’s non-bullying political editor, was left to spin the result as “The Raab effect (or a rogue)”. What he also ignored was that, as recently as January 20, the Labour lead in that same poll had been 8%, and that if there were to be a rogue result, it might not be last night’s. Even averaging all recent polls gave a nominal Labour majority of 76.
That result would come from a 6% Labour poll advantage over the Tories, 38% to 32%. And unless Young Dave and his jolly good chaps can persuade the electorate that giving a tax break to those earning over £150,000, while real earnings are yet to recover to their 2008 level, is worth voting for, that outcome is looking more and more likely. Right-leaning papers cannot imagine such a scenario.
Perhaps the voters really do not believe what they read in the papers.