YouGov have an instant reaction poll to Brown’s speech. This was a survey of 673 people who watched Brown’s speech.

The topline is that they liked it. 33% thought it was an excellent speech, 30% good, 22% fair, 11% poor and 4% bad. Their opinion of Brown has also improved since a few days ago, his net approval rating amongst these people was minus 24 a couple of days ago, now it it zero, so a big jump.

However, it’s important to remember that these are people who watched Brown’s speech, rather than a representative sample. Almost by definition, the majority of an actual representative sample wouldn’t have watched the speech, so wouldn’t be able to give any sort of verdict yet. People who watched his speech are likely to be a lot more politically aware, a lot more well disposed towards Labour to start with (I suspect you’re more likely to watch the speech of a party you like), and hence probably more receptive to Brown’s message.

The real effect of Brown’s speech will what difference it makes to the vast majority of people who see only clips of it on the 10 o’clock news, or hear it only through the prism of the newspapers tomorrow morning. Next voting intention figures will be at 5.05pm tomorrow, so we’ll see then how much of a boost it gives Labour.

80 Responses to “First reactions to Brown’s speech”

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  1. “Given that the Sun has now switched sides”.

    Not in Scotland the Scottish Sun ( same paper just not a bright) is remaining neutral.

    But then given the number of potentially Tory voting working clas Scots switching probably wouldn’t have boosted readership…..


  2. @Jim Jam

    “sealed the deal”

    I think we should ask: what does this mean?

    What information beyond a GE result would tell you that he had “sealed the deal”?

    If Blair “sealed the deal”, then what specifically was it that told you he had? If Blair didn’t, then why would Cameron care about this deal if someone won a 150-plus majority, twice, without it?

  3. @ Peter

    The Scottish Sun now has the same front page.

  4. @ JIM JAM

    I have to agree with Richard and ask exactly what is meant by this phrase “not yet sealed the deal”, trotted out regularly by desperate Guardian columnists among others.

    The Tories have been ahead in the polls for around 2 years now and – with some short-lived blips – it’s mostly been by a fairly substantial margin. They are now also consistently ahead in most polls on all the more pointed questions of the “which team do you trust most with the economy?” and “who is the best leader?” variety.

    What evidence do you have that any significant part of this support might just melt away if only …?

    It seems self-evident to me by now that a substantially larger part of the electorate prefers Cameron’s Conservatives over Brown’s Labour, and that it really isn’t going to change its mind unless Cameron is revealed to be a shapeshifting lizard-Nazi sleeping with underage rentboys.

  5. This was classic Brown, makes nice soundbites when taken apart but no overall vision- theme.

    It was the first thing Andrew Neil picked up on, (alongside Browns credibility).

    It will be the last budget all over again, wait till Thursday night and everyone will ahev picked it apart- I mean look at it- he announced that “ID cards wont be compulsory”…but they never were going to be anyway! Nothing in it.

    For these reasons (among many) this Brown bounce (a bounce to 30%…sad stuff) is temporary- they’ll be back on 25/28% in no time.

  6. Does it matter what The Sun says or thinks? Are there any polling figures on how Sun readers vote?

  7. The readers of the Sun are bound to be informed by what they read, and that info will be managed .

    They won’t be publishing negative stories about Tory policies, and they’ll headline negative stories about Labour. That’s bound to have some effect.

    I think the lead is not enough for the Tories to feel they don’t have to do anything more (like annnounce more policy detail). So I expect some substance from Cameron and Osborne next week. The lead is large enough for some of the more extreme policies to harden up. (Like the “no-frills” Britain vision where everyone gets the basic, and are expected to pay for extras.)

    Then I would expect the choice of change in direction to be even more exposed, and the polls to swing a little (though I’m not sure which way!)

  8. @ John TT

    I quite agree. I don’t know what drives the Sun’s editors, but presumably they’ll have some effect.

    The lead certainly isn’t enough for the Tories to sit on their hands until the election, but then, what party prior to a GE ever has?

    I do hope that the conference beefs up more policies, although as Heath discovered in 1970, detailed policies are a “hostage to fortune”, and Thatcher’s 1979 policy-light aim-and-principle-full manifesto was enough to put her in Downing St.

  9. How can you include these instant rolling polls in your average of results?

    Its clear they are skewed – you say so yourself.

    I am picking up lots of comment that suggest Kellner is biased – he said on TV the other day the tories were still behind labour leads of 97. But he knows and we know that methodologies then were biased to labour and have all changed since.

    How can Kellner keep respect when he speaks like that.

  10. Richard – even if Cameron goes light on policy, there will be plenty of “dire warnings” from Labour about the specific consequences of A Tory Govt.

    If those warnings (cardboard cities etc) prove eventually to be true, there’ll be a big “told you so” factor in the years to come.

    Conversely, if the reults are positive, then the likelihood of a second Tory term goes through the roof.

    We were warned of the dire consequences of a minimum wage, and of a congestion charge. Both worked, and benefitted Labour and Livingstone’s ratings enormously because they had put them in place in the face of dire warnings from opposition.

  11. @ John TT – “If those warnings (cardboard cities etc) prove eventually to be true, there’ll be a big “told you so” factor in the years to come.”

    That’s a very big IF there, John. Of course Labour is trying to portray some dire apocalyptic future under the Tories. It’s barrel-scraping negative politics but then Labour has been living at the bottom of the barrel for some time now.

    Problem is, they’re going to have to convince people other than committed Labour supporters that this dystopian vision is actually true. I don’t think they’ll succeed because a) it’s such a cartoonishly exaggerated vision of the near-future; b) Cameron is popular and trusted, certainly compared to Brown; and c) after 12 years Labour can really only offer more of the same, which most people aren’t very happy with.

    The minimum wage “works” in some ways but not in others. I read this weekend that there are an estimated 618,000 “undocumented workers” in Britain, mostly earning rather less than the minimum wage and – arguably – here because employers are using them as a way of bypassing the minimum and, no doubt, other little inconveniences such as health and safety regulations, tax, NI, sick pay, pensions, holiday pay etc.

    Labour is trying to occupy the ethical high ground but it’s not very high and and quite a lot of it is quicksand.

  12. Strange to see the predicted Tory majority come down from about 90 (I think it was) to just 34 with only a relatively small change in the shares of the vote with the average poll numbers.

  13. James – In theory, it isn’t a huge step from localisation of welfare to displacement (down to London) of people who have no job prospects and lower benefit levels because of where they live. That’s the likely line of attack on that score.

    If the policy is seen to work without dire consequences, then the chances of a second term would increase.

    The minimum wage worked because it reduced dependancy (the amount paid to by the state to make up the level so that housing & council tax were covered). Nothing to do with illegal employment, which was prevalent before it was introduced.

    I should have phrased it “were generally perceived to have worked” as that’s more consistent with a site about polls than simplistic knocking around of policies.

  14. If we live in a dream of Tory rescueing the economy turmoil we can dream on……….
    Only Labour managed to save the nation’s hardworking saving without having to lose a single penny as stated by Gordon Brown’s speech. The nation will not just judge by what the papers say but to listen to the right policies of what the nation want. The policies should be “for the people, of the people and by the people”. Gordon Brown’s speech was stright to these point and it is exactly what the nation want. PEOPLE’S FUTURE not party’s future.

  15. Trevorsden – no I didn’t. I said they were directly comparable to normal YouGov polls, which they are. I thought the Sunday polls might be a bit odd when that 5 point Labour jump emerged, but yesterday’s figures suggest that it was genuine after all.

  16. @ JohnTT – “The minimum wage worked because it reduced dependancy (the amount paid to by the state to make up the level so that housing & council tax were covered). Nothing to do with illegal employment, which was prevalent before it was introduced.”

    If the studies are to be believed, undocumented workers are MUCH more prevalent now than they were in the mid 1990s. My point is that a policy like the minimum wage certainly has good points but it also exacts its price elsewhere in society, which means it’s not a straightforward matter of saying that something “worked”. There are always legitimate grounds for counter-argument.

    @ Tan – very funny!

  17. James – the perception is that it worked (and as I’ve been reminded recently) that is all there is to say on this site.

    Unless you can point to polling that suggests it hasn’t been seen as such.

    I think if Cameron decides it should go, or wither away, that’ll have a negative effect on his polls.

  18. I really dislike papers which take ‘sides’; newspapers should report news, okay with bias reflecting its readers. In the day before the election they should then make a judgement in the editorial section.

    Otherwise newspapers which have taken sides this far in advance should be viewed with suspicion as little more than mouthpieces…

    What happens if the Tories do something stupid or Labour something impressive (okay, these are ifs…) will the Sun place its prejudice before its news ?

    Let’s bring back ‘Drop The Dead Donkey…’

  19. “Of course Labour is trying to portray some dire apocalyptic future under the Tories. It’s barrel-scraping negative politics but then Labour has been living at the bottom of the barrel for some time now”

    Something that the Tories haven’t been doing at all? All that stuff about “broken Britain” Its absolute tabloid rubbish. Sometimes the Tories think we are living in some sort fo mad max parallel universe.

    To be honets i think they are both as bad as each other when it comes to negativity towards each other. There is always teh Lib Dems, but then no one who is interested in politics would be a lib dem.

  20. @ Jack – “Something that the Tories haven’t been doing at all? All that stuff about “broken Britain” Its absolute tabloid rubbish.”

    Is it? I find Britain a pretty scary place these days. Not Mad Max scary, certainly, but a lot scarier than when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s.

    In any case, the actions and consequences of this Labour govt are actual and tangible. The Cameron govt ‘s actions are hypothetical as yet – Brown reading tea leaves or something.

  21. There’s rather a lot of comments here that aren’t within the spirit of the comment policy. I’ve opened up a new open thread for people to argue on to their hearts content… and in exchange can we have less ranting about the other side on this thread.

  22. Neil
    Thanks very much for the SNP tareget seats. I’ll go and get them right now.

  23. Sorry Anthony. We’re all getting a bit carried away with the excitement of conferences, speeches, The Sun …

    Thanks for the Open Thread.

  24. YouGov actually canvassed for the speech poll. They initially asked whether you were likely to listen to the speech and, if so, they sent an invitation to comment right after the speech. The first question was ‘Did you listen?’

    I assume, therefore, that they excluded people who answered ‘no’ to that question.

    I told them that I thought it a good speech (they didn’t ask for criticism else they’d have got a barrel-load…)

  25. The Sun in Scotland has the same headline but I think you’ll find a different story all about how Cameron has to prove himself to Scotland. I don’t that is in the UK version.

    Having commented on this once I am now refusing to visit the Sun web site again…. I have my pride.


  26. The most important issue in Brown’s speech should have been the Economy as we all know. In this respect his main thrust was the government’s innovation fund.
    But where I have to say that the £1 billion innovation fund will do nothing for the economy and Britains’ future. The reason, both Blair and Brown’s government were advised between 1997 and 1998 by many of the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists to build a ‘science city’ to provide for the UK’s future but where they completely ignored their world leading advice. Another reason is that the government’s innovation unit has people who do not understand the dynamics of innovation, have not the knowledge or skills to pick winning new technologies and cannot see the woods for the trees. We know as we dealt with them for two years and where career senior civil servants have not a clue about innovation. Indeed, the £1 billion fund will go the same way as the £15 billion spent by the regional development agencies over the past 7-years and where they have created nothing according to independent analysis. This study determined that they should be scrapped as it was a complete waste of money. The reason again, they have not the right people running the show who are competent in creating new industrial bases. So folks, don’t put all your faith in this innovation fund as it will totally fail the British people as all others have done over the past 12 years. The ‘old boy’ network is still working well and where even a Linguist can still run such a fund as in the case of the NESTA if people investigate – the pre-runner that heralded so much in 1998 but created nothing of any real substance.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation

  27. A very interesting post, and expert, post by Dr. Hill. I quite agree.

    In the mid-nineteenth century, when the “impartial” professional civil service was set up, the UK was the most powerful country in the world. Now the UK is falling behind even in Europe.

    The amateur civil service, ignorant about science and management techniques, is very largely responsible for the UK’s abysmal performance in international competition. The problems have been excellently documented in a book by the leading historian, Corelli Barnett. My politics are not those of Correlli Barnett, but his historical analysis is as expert and correct as that of Dr. Hill.

    Earlier this year, I had a letter published in the “New Statesman” suggesting that the UK needs a new ministry like the World War I Ministry of Munitions, which brought many outside business men, and union people, into Government. The Ministry of Munitions got millions, literally, of people (particularly women to replace the men who’d gone to fight), into completely new factoriaes within a couple of years.

    We need a great deal more than £1 billion invested in research and industry to get us out of our economic mess. In the short term, as in the World Wars, even at the expense of social expenditure on schools, health and housing (because unless we have industry we won’t have these services later). I would raise it by compulsory savings along the lines of Postwar Credits in World War II (Keynes’ idea). But the money needs to be administerd by a completely new, civil servant free, organisation.

    As Anthony has said, points on this thread have rther drifted from psephology. But I did refer to this point yesterday in relation to what unemployed voters, such as myself, who are turning away from Labour our looking for. Labour is hugely unpopular, but the Tories and LibDems are largely gaining by default – as the rise in “Others” shows.

    If the parties took on board the points Dr. Hill is making and expressed them in simple terms. they would gain votes. In the Government’s case, they would actually have to do things before the election – the example of 1915 shows this is possible – as few people listen to Labour words, such as Brown’s speech, any more, even if they say sensible things.

    If, as an individual, you are broke in the gutter you cannot make “Cuts”. You’ve no money to start with. And you can’t spend money on even near-essentials, which in Government terms is like spending on health and education. You’ve got to get a job. And the UK is in the same boat. We’ve put all our eggs in the banking basket, and they are broken (witness HSBC moving its headquarters back East). .The UK has got, very urgently, to find new ways of earning money as a nation. And maybe people would give our politicians more support if our leaders emonstrated that they recognised this basic fact.

    Actually, Brown and Labour are probably the most clued up of the three parties concerning the problems that Dr. Hill and, though I have nothing like the same expertise, myself are desperately trying to get noticed. But the trouble is that they won’t take on the vested interests, and creaking bureaucracy, that need to be swept away. They are not acting with nearly enough urgency. And they are totally failing to get people to understand what they are doing.

    Wait a couple of years and watch the Tory popularity figures when their “Cuts” policies don’t work!

  28. Brown’s speech sounds even better when you stick a breakbeat on it.

    Weren’t they just playing M-People at the end just to wake up the old dears they’d wheeled in from the local nursing home to make sure the hall looked at least half full?

    It was a clunking contrivance of clumsy and telegraphed stage management… like watching am dram or a school play.

    Reminded me of a time I went to an Amway conference in the Birmingham NEC, where Sir Ranulph Fiennes stuttered through some autocued dross.

    It says a lot when there are only two significant “acts” on the Labour cabaret stage, both of them worthy of occupying a waking nightmare or a Hammer horror set.

  29. Can anyone remember or care about it a day or two later? With the tragedies in Samoa and Indonesia snuffing out electorate memories? No

    I would seriously think all polling should cease during this most boring of seasons (bar for we idiots) where everyone gets their pennyworth of media fame which is forgotten by the following day …

    I’m not big on banning but-as well as banning chewing gum-I would be a strong supporter of banning the Conference season…And I like politics so imagine how it plays with those who dislike it…

  30. Frederic Stansfield

    You certainly understand the problem, even though you have not the information that I have had over the last 20 years from leading scientific and technological innovators throughout the world. Indeed, it is a great pity that more do not comprehend like you do, the great need that Britain has for the development of a totally ‘NEW’ industrial base that creates the world’s needed and future technologies. In this respect we have the creative thinking (where 75% resides outside our Universities et al) that has made the modern world what it is today. This is what Japan (1980s) and Germany (1990s) stated and where Britain’s fundamental thinking had created up to 55% of all the things that make up the modern world today. Since 1994 our organization, with the support of many Nobel Laureates and the world’s most eminent scientists, have told the UK government that they have to introduce the ORE-STEM system to release the world-changing thinking at the command of our people. No politician has really listened from Major to Blair to Brown to these nation-changing strategies because they saw our future in financial services et al. Now this underlying falsehood of a 75% service base economy is coming home to roost and where we are declining in economic terms, year-on-year.

    Indeed, as you state, even HSBC is jumping the ship and where I made comment to many newspapers recently, but where they still would not put the letter in print. For in many ways I have found that the media are now just as culpable as the politicians in our nation’s demise, as they never entertain views that are against the interests of large corporate interests that advertise with them or a chairman is a friend of the editor.

    The problem is so urgent now as our industrial production against last year has dropped a further 11.2%, that we really do need the media to understand we have to change our thinking fundamentally. And things are going to decline further over the coming years. The reason, we have nothing in the size needed today to sell to the world markets anymore. This plea is not for me or my institution, but for the wellbeing of our people and their children’s futures That is if they are to have one with meaningful outcome.

    But it has to be said that in the wider-world we have increasing problems also. Many unknown to the people of this country but where expenditure on weaponry is increasing alarmingly from year-to-year.

    For there is more and more money spent on armaments in the name of defence every year and where the constant push in the USA and all industrialised nations (Britain included) if you look at the country-to-country breakdown of military expenditure for 2008 and $1.46 Trillion in total. Therefore when will journalists together with our politicians learn that the vast investment in weaponry (for both defence or offensive use) should in reality be used on cooperation, communication and collaboration. Indeed, the Friends Committee on National Legislation calculates for Fiscal Year 2009, that the majority of US tax payer’s money goes towards war – some 44.4% of all taxes (paying off the old wars and current wars). The final solution is that, in the false belief that the strongest will prevail, eventually we shall all go to war again. But wouldn’t it have been better to put all that vast wealth, now running at nearly $1.5 trillion a year and counting, into the peaceful co-existence of nations and their international harmony? Indeed, at the rate of increase that military spending is happening and where this will escalate more due to vast natural resources depletion and the effects on our lands from climate change, by 2025 military expenditure could very well be $5 trillion a year and be the largest industry in the world. What fools paradise is this when we spend this kind of money on basically killing each other (not defence in the final analysis as we shall eventually have to use all these weapons with our present political mindsets). But then, all hell will be let loose and where humanity will have very little left, even if you are the greatest economy in the world, whether that be the US or China in 20-years time. Considering these facts, all that we are doing is therefore fooling ourselves, for as in the end and in this century with our present political thinking, we shall basically eliminate our species 100%. Indeed, we have enough weaponry now to official kill ourselves fifty times over as a minimum situation so where are we really heading.

    But the real problem in the world today is that all nations are basically working apart, only concerned for their national needs and interests, both in terms of industrial needs and the needs of their people. But as a direct consequence of this, as natural resources run well below global demand as they diminish over the next quarter of a century and towards extinction by the end of the 21st century, major wars are inevitable. The only solution is for the world to come together whilst there is still time and to build the vast ORE-STEM complex that great scientists put forward to preserve the human experience. This vast centre of technological excellence and global cooperation of nations is the only thing that will save the world from human oblivion and immense human suffering. The reason again, we need as humans (now heading towards over 9 billion by 2050) something big enough and with enough global clout to deliver the solutions. Unfortunately this socio-economic concept, invented by many of the world’s leading scientists, is not something that our politicians will listen too. Therefore it will be they and corporate greed supported by the media that will eventually in this present century, condemn humankind to oblivion.

    Thank you for your comments ! They were constructive and intuitively spot on and where more of our people in this great ‘people’ country, should comprehend !

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