While Theresa May tries to finalise a deal with the DUP to get herself a Commons majority, and therefore the ability to get a Queen’s Speech passed, the pollsters have been hard at work picking over the bones of last week’s General Election. In the case of YouGov, who were, with Survation, one of the two who got closest to the eventual outcome, they have been looking at the influence of the press on voter behaviour.
And their findings will make grim reading for that larger part of the Fourth Estate which so shamelessly cheered on the Tories, while drenching the Labour leadership in abuse and smears. Yes, they persuaded a significant majority of their readers to back The Blue Team, but the effect was not as in previous elections - Labour gained seats, the Tories lost them, and the press assault failed to destroy Jeremy Corbyn.
Moreover, the news was worst for the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun: while readers of papers like the Mail broke 74-17 for the Tories, with the Express breaking 77-15 and the Telegraph 79-12, the Sun only managed a 59-30 split (the Murdoch Times had fared marginally better, with the Tories coming out on top 58-24). All that knocking copy, and 30% of readers still voted Labour. And it gets worse.
While 76% of Mail readers turned out to vote, and 78% of Express readers did likewise, with both Telegraph and Times recording an 82% score, the Sun managed a miserable 48%. That means a majority of Sun readers did not bother voting. What is the point of having control of a multi-million reader megaphone when more than half of those on the receiving end of the broadcast take no notice of it?
It then gets worse still: the Sun is now openly contradicting all the sycophantic talking-up it gave the Tories before polling day, typical being Jane Moore, another obscenely overpaid pundit trying to make sense of a world that is rapidly leaving her and her pals behind, telling “critically, [Theresa May] simply came across as robotic, remote, a teensy bit dreary and horribly out of touch with modern Britain … In short, she’s an Ovaltiney Prime Minister living in a chai latte age”. Christ on a bike, where is she coming from?
The kinds of voters Ms Moore and her pals are trying to get through to will (a) not know what the hell Ovaltine is - and nor will they care - and (b) just because Sun hacks and pundits, with their unfeasibly large pay packets, drink chai latte, it doesn’t follow that those who can take or leave newspaper opinion do the same.
It gets worse still as non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn claims an exclusive for “THERESA May’s Tory party is on death row and could face ‘years of opposition’, a sacked minister has declared … Blue collar Tory MP Rob Halfon has insisted the Conservatives must make dramatic changes – including switching their name to the ‘The Workers Party’”. It wasn’t on death row before election day, was it?
The Sun is just condemning itself to even greater irrelevance. Its pundits don’t understand their target audience, many of its readers refuse to vote the way they’re told, and half of them can’t be arsed voting in the first place. A well-merited oblivion beckons.