Saturday, 6 March 2010

Bouncing Back

This News of the World ICM poll puts the Tories back on 40%. Now, I realise that I've had a bit of a dig at the mainstream polls on this blog over the past few weeks, and the fact that people all over the place seem to have been falling for Labour's propaganda - and their ridiculous 'Tory shambles' narrative. But I'd just like people to be reminded of a couple of things.

Firstly, just about all of these polls employ arcane methodologies that weight everything in Labour's favour. In other words, even when the Tories are bouncing back, as they seem to be now, there has to be a powerful suspicion that the reality is that Labour were never anywhere near them in the first place; that the polls themselves were entirely misleading, insofar as they painted a picture of, at one point (laughably), the possibility of Brown actually forming the next government, somehow. And they still are misleading, in that they are suggesting that the Tories are recovering in some way, when, in fact, all they are doing is further consolidating and increasing their lead. I reckon you can add another five points onto the Tories' lead in this ICM poll. That would bring it into line with the only pollsters I trust: Angus Reid (who recently put the Tory lead at 14 points).

In addition to this is the fact that Cameron has had a tremendously good couple of weeks. You can say whatever you like about the Ashcroft thing, which appears to have exercised the minds of some of the bigger bloggers, like Guido, but to ordinary people I guarantee that this non-issue isn't even on the radar. I felt, and others I have spoken to (at least, those few who were interested) felt that Cameron handled it pretty well. Take the thing away altogether, and you are left with Cameron's excellent performance at his party's spring conference and his confident, crystalising and increasingly positive message about the appalling state of the nation, Brown-Labour's legacy, and what he's going do about it. In contrast, Brown has been, well, just Brown. Lying to the Chilcott enquiry, talking more nonsense about the debt crisis (1) and the economy he destroyed and now playing party politics once again with our armed forces with yet another unwanted, unwarranted trip to Afghanistan.

People are not stupid. They see that Brown is desperate and will, as John Major is apparently about to say, try anything to stay in power. On the other hand, they look at Cameron and they see a leader who is finding his voice - and preparing for office. These dodgy polls might reflect the direction of public opinion, therefore, but, because they are so flawed, they certainly can't be trusted to provide accurate figures for the actual state of the electorate's voting intentions. I therefore maintain that whatever the polls say, Labour are about to get the biggest electoral kicking of their lives, and deservedly so. And, as I also said before, I've put my money where my mouth is.

Finally, it's worth offering a final piece of evidence that Cameron really is getting into his stride (or, to please the doom-mongers, but obviously not his detractors, 'bouncing back'). His speech today to the Welsh Conservatives in Cardiff Llandudno (only the wrong end of the country! Thanks to Strapworld for putting me right) was terrific. And even the Spectator agrees!

(1) Prodicus is excellent on this particular Brownian nightmare this evening. Worth the read.


  1. Cameron's speech was in Llandudno nor Cardiff!!

    Sadly he declined to take questions from journalists. That is not the actions of a 'leader'. Then I read Hitchins in the Mail on Sunday and discover that Cameron refuses to be interviewed or answer written questions from Hitchins.

    You cannot pick and choose. He is acting in a very childish manner a spoilt child come to that.

    Sorry. I do enjoy reading your blog but Cameron has turned me away from the tories.

    Thanks for the interesting observations.

  2. Ah, right - I thought I heard Cardiff on the news, but you are dead right, of course.

    While I admire Hitchens in many ways, I think he's burnt too many bridges with the Tory party to be given any access any more. I'm not sure he can go slagging them off every week (however justifiably some cases) and then expect to have a hotline to a future prime minister. Childish or not, if it were me, I'd do precisely the same thing to him.

    As for your thoughts on Cameron, your view of him is perfectly understandable, given what he's done and some of policies he claims to be be pursuing. It seems, however, that I'm somewhat more forgiving of his frailties than others find they can be. My view is an always has been that if he is the only way to get rid of this disastrous government, then so be it. When he's done that for us, then we can put him under pressure to reverse some of the damage Labour have done. But it only starts with the ousting of Brown. And the only way to do that is to vote Cameron.

    Cynical? Possibly, but as Sir Humphrey said, "a cynic is what an idealist calls a realist."

    Glad you like (at least some) of the blog :)

  3. I agree. From all the evidence I see apart from the polls, the Tories are far in front.

    The BBC has a very interesting piece on the laughable methodologies used by some of the leading polling organisations. Here's a sample (about Ipsos-MORI):

    "Data is weighted to reflect the profile of the population, using the latest census data and recent updates from the Office for National Statistics and other surveys. Data is weighted by age, gender, social grade, work status, public vs. private sector worker, region and car ownership. Ipsos MORI does not weight by past vote...

    Ipsos MORI asks respondents to rate their likelihood to vote on a scale of 1-10 where 10 means absolutely certain to vote and 1 means absolutely certain not to vote. The data is then filtered so that only the responses of those who answer 10 out of 10 (absolutely certain to vote) make up the final figures."

    It all reminds me of...something...ah yes, I know - climate change models.


Any thoughts?