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. Seems like a poll to ignore to me.

    I notice yougovs daily thing isn’t getting into the voting intention on the right of the site?

  2. He seems to be announcing loads of new initiatives without anything about how they are to be paid for. This is cloud-cuckoo land: we have a 12% structural deficit!

  3. Anthony
    3rd paragraph is absolutely spot on !
    Sharp as ever

  4. I am assuming the poll was done at the labour conference. Anybody not a labour supporter would have categorised the speech as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’, had the option existed.

    I was interested by the lack of enthusiasm for the speech in the media coverage afterwards relative to the Prince’s yesterday. For a ‘make or break’ it was most definitely a ‘break’.

  5. And by definition, people who have time to sit in front of a telly in the middle of the afternoon – so not very representative !

    Did YouGov try anything similar for Clegg’s speech ?

    It will be interesting to compare the results for Cameron’s speech next week.

  6. It wasn’t his worst speech. Not great, but not as dismal as he’s capable of.

    Some of his “new” initiatives appear to be reversals of the govt’s old initiatives (ID cards, 24 hour drinking). His new policy of incarcerating welfare-dependent teenage mothers seems to have been lifted from the BNP website.

    Still, I think he’ll get a small boost from it in the polls. But I don’t think it will last long.

  7. Out of interest, how many people contacted did NOT watch Brown’s speech?

  8. Re. the un-representativity of such a poll.

    I’ve got to the point with our glorious government that I prefer to read the write-ups than to actually watch the speeches (I was free this afternoon, but went and burnt some stuff in the garden instead and had a thoroughly good time). So, what sort of people watch Mr Brown, and why? I presume they are either ultra-partisans or narcissists, or residents of the Westminster Village. Not exactly representative …

  9. So he’s going to ‘change the world again’. Didnt he like the way he changed and saved it earlier this year then?

  10. I wouldn’t be to worried about this poll, their popularity will plumit again any time soon. I have to admit I am a Tory Supporter, but what Brown spoke was utter drivel, anything to win a vote. That’s why he wants electoral reform, so he can win next election and not be humiliated, but i’m sure no one will fall for that joke of his.

  11. Why didn’t he advise the nation to sell their gold – after all the price is now four times greater than when he sold the nation’s reserves!!

  12. Final verdict deferred until next week. The speech was certainly an improvement on recent efforts and better than Clegg’s last week.

  13. “So, what sort of people watch Mr Brown, and why?”

    People like me! I haven’t written on this site for ages because frankly I was sick of trying to defend GB when I wasn’t even sure if I supported him. I honestly feel enthused by his speech. I feel proud to be Labour again.

    I think he’s left Cameron with a very difficult task at his conference. Labour are promising free care for the elderly, yearly rises in minimum wage and child tax credits and finally a commitment to a referendum on an alternative vote system. Cameron is promising to cut inheritance tax and spending.

    I realise we’re not supposed to be arguing about the actual policies on this site but I think it’s fair to say that he’s at least going to encourage some of the Labour vote back. At minimum 1 person :)

  14. Yes this poll is slightly biased, but I think people are ignoring that there are still a lot of Labour supporters out there – and a significant proportion of floating voters that will be impressed by Brown today – not all is lost – these polls however are not as representative as you think – the election is not won or lost just yet!

  15. The Tories will be asked to refute the charge that they alone amongst serious political parties around the world in opposing fiscal stimulus; and would have let Northern Rock fail.

    This was dog whistle stuff with a point, reminding people of 80-82, lost generations etc.
    Tory supporters on here may be shocked but many people in the country could never vote Tory and Brown’s aim is to garner a higher share of that vote.
    May be enough to stop an out-right Tory win.

  16. I am former member of the Labour Party, and generally depressed at the direction of party.
    My vote has been drifting towards the Lib Dems for a number of years – until today.
    The key points from his speech that caught my were PR and Child Care for 2 year olds.
    I think this speech will really connect with Labour’s core vote, and if Labour can get to 30%, it’s game on. It’s hung parliment territory.
    I think that if David Cameron wants a TV debate, Gordon should oblige. It wouldn’t be as one sided as DC thinks.
    Gordon is not out of it yet!

  17. I didn’t get to watch the Prime Minister’s speech. I was down the Job Centre having my work search activities reviewed (any offers?). And I guess many of the other 2.4 million unemployed, plus the millions of others not officially counted, whilst they may have been more able than many to watch Brown on the television are hardly likely to vote for him – witness the concern about support for Labour in their “safe” working class seats with high unemployment.

    If I can go off thread a minute, none of the three major parties are mentioning unemployment. they are all paralysed in the headlights, adn kowtowing to international economics. I wonder if, as is suggested, Brown and Cameron have head to head television interviews people will see them as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Those of use who have drawn the short end of the stick are increasingly off to others, e.g. Green, UKIP, Money Reform (in Canterbury) and perhaps left splinter parties. And some to the BNP. Why should we vote for anybody providing its the establishment?

    Labour, and Mandelson, are doing some of the right things on employment, but they are not treating it as an emergency like the Second World War, which is what they should be doing. And people see the millions of claimants, not policies to create thousands, rather than millions, of jobs.

    I do think (see for instance a recent post I put on the Liverpool Wavertree thread) that unemployment is an addressable porblem if people nationally and internationally grasped the nettle.

    Now back to Brown’s speech. From what I have heard he has made various promises. And you are right, Anthony, few people will have actually watched, but many more will see the television news reports. However, the trouble for Labour is that even if people recognise a good speech, they no longer trust Labour (see recent polls). And, as I pointed out in response to a recent poll, one people no longer trust you, they won’t believe your promises.

    As Anthony observes, we shall see what the next polls say.

  18. Is there a reason you’re including the daily yougov tracker in the polling average, they’ll seriously skew it! lol

  19. Even I who desperately hopes Labour will lose thought his speech was fair. The question is how many people are prepared to believe anything this man says anymore.

    Whatever happened to the 5 tests that were supposed to be needed before the referendum on the Euro, for example? How many years have we been waiting for that one!

    Once we have finished with these daily knee-jerk reactions polls I’m still inclined to think that come Sunday we are likely to get polls showing no improvement for Labour.

  20. You’d have to pay me a lot to watch any politician’s speech from start to end… And I’m a nerd who likes this stuff… so I dont believe any poll based on people watching Brown as no normal human would do it….

  21. Philip

    ‘Whatever happened to the 5 tests that were supposed to be needed before the referendum on the Euro, for example? How many years have we been waiting for that one!’

    We don’t have the Euro so there is no need for a referendum. Have you missed the point?

  22. I still argue no poll is important until a week after the last conference; this is as mad as the summer silly news season.

  23. But once we get the poll later about his speech many Tories etc. will just say poor or bad even if they actually thought it was a fair or good speech because they will do anything to bring him down. So either way a poll about his speech is pointless…

  24. Brown promises to spend more of our money, which he hasn,t actually taken from us yet. He will take it and more, if he wins the election, be warned. Also he promises another referendum, were labour the party that promised a referendum on Lisbon or am I dreaming. does anyone want another term of these people? if the answer to this is yes then you richly deserve them.

  25. Jack,

    We were promised a referendum on the Euro so that the people may CHOOSE whether they want the Euro, that’s what referendums are about. There are many who would still like a mature discussion on the subject.

    We have been promised a referendum on electoral reform. But I think there is a good chance that most of those who would like to see this will recognise it for the empty promise that it is.

    People have seen over cuts that Labour are prepared to say anything they think they can get away with in order to give themselves a chance at the election.

  26. Anthony – thanks for the answer on a previous thread.

  27. Promises made today that involve:
    1. contents less impressive than their wrappingsor
    2. money we don’t have.

    When Labour can’t spend money, what are they for?

    Didn’t see that answered today.

  28. Just a further thought on today:

    I think that there are a substantial minority of Labour voters who like me, have been reluctant to support Gordon.

    However, the closer the chance of a Cameron led government gets, the more stark my choice becomes.

    Today Gordon offered a vision that appeals those core beliefs, enough to persuade me and probably others that sticking with Gordon is much better option than Clegg or Cameron.

    I am sure that despite the massive anti-GB, anti-Labour headlines at the moment, there are 5 – 10% of the voting population who will support GB on Election day.

  29. I mean 5-10% on top of the current opinion poll figures!

  30. ‘PHILIP JW
    Jack,
    We were promised a referendum on the Euro so that the people may CHOOSE whether they want the Euro, that’s what referendums are about. There are many who would still like a mature discussion on the subject.’

    But there is no chance of the Euro being introduced so what a waste of money and time. Anyone hear anybody concerned about this issue at the pub? Deafening silence. Get real. The argument about the euro is dead and raising it here merely shows typical anti EU boring bashing…

    Or are you arguing that we should have referenduma on everything like will the sun rise, should the Daily mail exist, let’s kill all immigrants, are apple pies good? get real. Referendums only need to exist when it is a viable issue. The Euro is dead in this country, not least as we are nothing more than an historic theme park, so the referendum would be nothing more than waste of time and its on no-one’s political agenda…

  31. ‘People have seen over cuts that Labour are prepared to say anything they think they can get away with in order to give themselves a chance at the election.’

    And are you telling that all the other parties don’t say what they think the electorate wants to hear? Get cynical and get real–first principles must be that all parties try to get elected, after that they MAY try to help the country.

    The electorate are no longer naive–just say the words politicians expenses to the normal person and then work out if they think politicians care about the country first or their own pockets…

    Wish I could have my moat paid for by the taxpayers…

  32. As said, no poll should be conducted until a week after conference season; why? normal people will forget everything about it as soon as the sound bite has gone.

    Only we idiots view it with amusement / cynicism / childish enthusiasm / naive idealism (choose your own term!). :)

  33. Refering to the above post, does anyone know of an up to date site with latest polling for the Irish re-vote? The magnitude and outcome of which is far reaching.

  34. Bobbie M – all polls are included in the average. Click on the MORE… underneath it to see how it’s calculated. Multiple polls from the same company are weighted downwards to prevent them unduly dominating the average.

    Jack – I watched the whole thing from start to finish :)

  35. Very interesting.

    We now have a predicted Conservative majority of just 34.

    Who knows what might happen over the next few months – but if things stay like this, it could be a fascinating General Election.

  36. First of all, welcome back to all the Labour supporters who have hitherto been too despondent to post on Anthony’s blog. It’s nice to see a little balance return, and I’m sure Jim Jam and Alec will welcome the company!

    Only caught a little of the speech on Radio 4, and my main observation was the sycophantic enthusiasm the Brown Broadcasting Corporation greeted it with. It must be nice for them to have “good news” to report for a change.

    What I heard sounded pretty much par for the course (‘we will spend lots of rich people’s money on stuff for the masses’ – translation: we will tax the middleclass even more to increase the poorly thought out splurge on public sector spending that left us so badly equipped to deal with the recession in the first place).

    @Jim Jam

    “This was dog whistle stuff with a point, reminding people of 80-82, lost generations etc”. It always strikes me that previous recessions under Tory governments are blamed on the Tories but this mother of all recessions is somehow uniquely “external”. Does anyone really believe that if Labour had been in power in 1980 or in 1991 then the problems Britain faced would have been any less?

  37. Listening to the speech (well, those parts R4 broadcast on way home from work) all I heard was “We will spend your money on this…and that…and the other”.

    Would it be unfair of me to think that Brown appears to be promising the Earth knowing it’s unlikely he’ll have to deliver it?

    A stick to beat the Tories with for the next 4 years..”We promised this, but you voted tory”

  38. I’ve heard bits. A lot about spending, not a lot about where he’ll get the money from.

    Plus ça change…

  39. “Neil Turner
    Why didn’t he advise the nation to sell their gold – after all the price is now four times greater than when he sold the nation’s reserves!!”

    Now’s the time to hang on to your gold (or buy some). We will get hyper-inflation because of so-called quantitative-easing aka printing money.

    “Garry K
    I mean 5-10% on top of the current opinion poll figures!”

    You were right first time.

    “Jack
    Or are you arguing that we should have referenduma on everything like will the sun rise, should the Daily mail exist, let’s kill all immigrants, are apple pies good?”

    There’s no reason why, in the modern world, we couldn’t have a referendum on everything. That would be true democracy. However the politicians (and you?) don’t trust the people.

    “Neil A
    @Jim Jam
    “This was dog whistle stuff with a point, reminding people of 80-82, lost generations etc”. It always strikes me that previous recessions under Tory governments are blamed on the Tories but this mother of all recessions is somehow uniquely “external”. Does anyone really believe that if Labour had been in power in 1980 or in 1991 then the problems Britain faced would have been any less?”

    Good point. Problems in the early 80s were caused by the Tories having to clear up the last mess left by Labour. Does no-one remember the IMF being called in, or the WInter of Discontent?

  40. “Would it be unfair of me to think that Brown appears to be promising the Earth knowing it’s unlikely he’ll have to deliver it?”

    He said he’s going to cure cancer too! lol

  41. Just been reading up on the AV voting reform promised. It’s a far too complicated system to have a broad appeal. I’d dread to have to explain this policy on the doors!

    For those who understand it and want electoral reform it does not go far enough to make a really significant difference.

    If a person understands it, wants it, the final obstacle will be believing that Brown would deliver on it – not a huge vote winner! I don’t think the Lib Dems need to feel threatened by it.

  42. I watched approximately 5 minutes of the speech. What I saw of it was surprisingly well delivered (for Gordon) and I can see why Labourites liked it – but it was unfortunately a mixture of lies, half truths, undeliverable promises and policies which, if implemented would completely bankrupt the country.

    Polls are an irrelevance just now because of the extreme fluctuations they are subject to during conference season. I do think however, that the Tories have plenty of ammunition against both Labour and the Libdems from the last week and a half.

    On a completely seperate issue – I have posted a list of SNP target seats on the Ochil & South Perthshire thread for anyone who is interested.

  43. I think the most reliable poll on Brown’s speech was seen when a BBC camera panned across the faces of the cabinet. Not a single smile in sight. They all looked so glum that I was half expecting to hear that they had just concluded a suicide pact.

    The collective wisdom of the cabinet appears to be “Labour’s toast”

  44. Any hope Labour may have had of a conference boost should be neutralised by the Sun finally coming out in support of the Conservatives. Predictable, but still likely to make a big impact. The effect in the polls should be evident by the end of the week, if there is one – I would expect the main effect to be that Labour miss out on an otherwise likely bounce of 2 or 3 points.

  45. Although I think the Sun is right to ditch its support for Labour, I find the self-importance of the paper rather annoying sometimes. They claim to always support the party which goes on to win the election but really they’re just supporting the most likely party to win a given election – following rather than leading.

  46. Definitely
    And that Pascoe-Watson wally brain
    Did you see how smug he looked on newsnight.
    Like ‘oh yeah, i’m actually a Roman Emperor dontchya know’
    I’d love for them to back the wrong horse.
    And anyway, how can anybody be proud of either working for or reading the Sun.
    It says in the loudest possible voice
    “I’m thick, and proud of it” .

    The Sun in fact is the personification of that British disease, wherein those who are clever, either at school or at work, are bullied and despised and classed as uncool. Whereas the so tough so called rough diamond at school, so long as he’s Briiiihish, is the hero that we are all suppose to look up to.
    Never mind the fact that he has an IQ of 90.
    But because he’s a solid British geezer who takes naaaa sh*t from nobody, he’s a hero.
    Oh puuuuuuuuuuuulease.
    Thats why we dont have a British car industry anymore. Because all those who had the intelligence at school and could have gone on to do well at university, were cajolled out of it by their feckless witless schoolmates, into being a geezer like them.
    Now both of them are either on the dole or working in call-centres.
    God i hate this country. Totally rotten.

  47. this is not a representative sample.

    the sun today has listed new labours cronic failures over 12 years,with a couple of successes.

    we are one of the most indebted nations in the world,and brown keep on anouncing more spending.

    it really all a trifle bizarre. we will not be back to our borrowing levels of last year until 2032.

    that is just to last year after the previous 11 years of labour raids on our cash.

  48. The WMA is 39:27:21 so it looks, for now, as though it has been a good conference for Labour. I can’t help feeling highlu sceptical about this “brown bounce” but we shall see…

  49. Neil A/Pete B.
    Our respective opinions on the 80-82 Recesion are irrelevant, it is how the floating voter perceives it.

    I take the view that the Cons ‘allowed’ the market to run its’ course and that intervention would have mitigated the effects. In fact in 81 Howe?Thatcher excacerbated by increasing taxes and Base rates.
    Labour will contrast unemployment in the second Tory recession following lawson’s boom; negative equity and the like and use Blanchflowers views and others to support their case.
    It’s a more sophiticated Tories are the do-nothing party.
    I called it ‘Dog Whistle’ as it is a clear sign that Labour have given up winning out-right and are trying to shore up its’ old natural base to maybe prevent a con out-right victory but more likely to have something to cling on to for next time or the one after.
    Re the polls, I am not over enthused by the Labour lift/Con drop and believe like most that this will be reversed next week .
    As I said on a different thread we are, though, getting some indication of current potentials if things go well or badly for one of the 3 main parties.
    This gives us straw-clutchcers some-thing ton hang on to.
    The other thing to hang on to to is that the Tories have not ‘sealed the deal’ and that cammo is well ahead of his party who many still don’t trust – it will be interesting to see how the Tories do next week and if they park the IHT proposal which would be astutue.

  50. Given that the Sun has now switched sides it will be interesting to see how this impacts upon Labour’s figures after their Conference.

    It is quite likely that Brown will volunteer to be the next Clown sent into space.

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