There is a startling YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Times. The topline figures, with changes from Thursday, are CON 37%(-2), LAB 35%(+2) (this is from the News of the World which doesn’t have the Lib Dem figure). The 2 point lead is the smallest YouGov have recorded since the election-that-never-was back in 2007 and if repeated at a general election would leave Labour comfortably the largest party in a hung Parliament.

The poll will no doubt send a shiver through the Conservatives (and perhaps tempt Gordon Brown towards calling a general election, though the speculation over a March 25th election would require the dissolution of Parliament on Monday, and a “wash up” period for outstanding legislation of only a single day seems exceptionally unlikely. The early election rumour de jour now seems to have shifted to April.).

The question people are likely to ask is whether it is real. Well, the changes from the previous poll are well within the margin of error. YouGov’s polls this week have been very consistent in showing a 6 point lead, and these figures are actually within the margins of error of a true position of CON 38%-39%, LAB 32%-33%, which has been the position all this week. It could just be sample variation – or it could be a further narrowing of the lead. With just a single poll, it’s impossible to tell. All I can say is what I always say when a poll shows sharp movement – until we see some more polls that support or contradict the further narrowing of the polls – be wary.

With a poll like this I expect there to be a lot of rather, erm, excitable discussion, there is a second open thread here for all your gloating, yelling, arguing, ranting and hair-pulling needs, while the normal comments policy will apply here for non-partisan discussion of the poll itself.

UPDATE: The Lib Dems are on 17% and the full tables are here


350 Responses to “YouGov show Tory lead dropping to TWO points”

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  1. POLL ALERT – NEW SCOTTISH YOUGOV POLL – BOTH WESTMINSTER + HOLYROOD VOTING INTENTION

    YouGov/Scotland on Sunday
    Westminster voting intention – Scotland
    Sample size = 1000 Scottish adults
    Fieldwork = ?
    (+/- change from YouGov/Scottish Sun 17-24 Feb 2010)

    Lab 38% (-4)
    SNP 21% (+1)
    Con 20% (+1)
    LD 15% (+1)

    – Doing a good job? (net rating)

    Gordon Brown +8
    Alex Salmond -2
    David Cameron -5

    Holyrood voting intention – constituency vote
    (+/- change from YouGov/SNP 12 – 13 January 2010)

    Lab 33% (+1)
    SNP 28% (-7)
    Con 16% (+2)
    LD 16% (+3)

    The Scotland on Sunday makes a cryptic comparison to “the same YouGov poll at the beginning of January”. But there was no YouGov/SoS poll published in January! In fact the last published Scottish Westminster v.i. YouGov poll (prior to the two small YouGov’s for the Scottish Sun in late February) was for the Daily Telegraph in autumn 2009 (18-20 Nov).

    This confirms what I have suspected for a long time: the unionist press may have been conducting opinion polls but not publishing the results when they have been favourable for the SNP. Peter Kellner, if you are reading this: now that the cat is out the bag, we want to see the detailed datasheets from that unpublished YouGov/SoS-Scotsman poll conducted in January. Per BPC rules.

    If there is no such poll, then what is “the same YouGov poll at the beginning of January” that the SoS refers to?

  2. WMA 38:32:18 and actually the error on this poll (3.6) is in line with the YouGov/Sunday Times poll on 11-Dec which turned out (on the Retrospectives) to have an error of 3.6.

    Nevertheless this does mean that the trend over the last 69 days (assuming that the election is in 69 days time) is very convincing with an R2 of .81 and if this continues the CLead would be 0.5%.

    I can’t see this continuting though – surely people will begin to understand the appalling economic mess we are in (£ is plummeting as the prospect of a hung parliament is raised). But for now the trend is very clear.

  3. Whilst the polls are clearly narrowing this 2 point lead is way of the mark. My understanding is YouGov is increasing its Labour ID voters in recent polls. Is this true? The Tory support is not draining away ( 37-40 in all recent polls) it is Lib Dem voters moving to Labour.

    I am activist in a Tory/Lab marginal and this lead is not representative at all of what I am hearing on door step. Labour and GB are are seriously unpopular. The Tories are not welcomed with open arms, but there is a definite warming to the Tories. As I have said before the only polls which we should be interested in are the Eng/Welsh marginals. Why do we not see more of these.

  4. Having been involved in some canvass work in the last few weeks it does seem quite positive for the conservatives compared to 3 years ago.

  5. My “real job” is spotting and analysis trends. If I spent my days kidding myself, I’d be unemployed in about a week..

    I agree that this is almost certainly a rogue poll, but the “support” is now 2 points and the “resistance” 9 points. I’m convinced other polls will come in higher for the Tories but the big point is, is this the start of a further down trend or just a true rogue. Oh interesting times.

  6. the “support” is now 2 points and the “resistance” 9 points.

    Hmmmm? Care to expand?

  7. This trend matches our by-election result in Birstall last week, when we came a very good 2nd in a seat that we have never held, and the Tory won. It also matches our response on the door. However I would like to see more than 1 poll – I expected it to be in line with the Tory decline and show a 5 point lead not 2.

  8. I agree with the general consensus, it would be unwise for Labour supporters to get too excited unless and until this poll is backed up by others. But nevertheless it’s striking that in the last 2 weeks polls have kept appearing which have shown the Tories in a progressively smaller lead – first 8, then 7, which itself seemed like a breakthrough for Labour, then the clutch of polls showing it at 6, then the MORI poll of 5. I wouldn’t rule out a similar poll unless the public react warmly to the Tory spring conference.

  9. Just one more thing. If this poll were to be accurate, I doubt that the Tories would get more than a minuscule boost from marginals. It would effectively mean that the “time for a change” mood had passed and I think it would actually result in Labour being the largest party.

  10. Why did the paper change this poll over night?

  11. As Ive said before, the tories need to achieve a political earthquake at the election.

    They need to capture 128 seats just to get a majority of one, a feat that they have not achieved since 1924, when the UK was in the middle of a Red Scare. They need to do this when they are disadvantaged by the electoral system (they need to be 9 points ahead to get a majority of 1), and they start from a base which is lower than that of Michael Foot’s Labour after the 1983 election catastrophe.

    Yet here we are just weeks before an election and they are just 2 points ahead with other polls putting them 5 or 6. And the economy is recovering.

    Now tories can talk about rogue polls, and they can clutch at the straws of Angus Reade and the marginals, but unless the tories can come up with a really big smear in the next few months, they are in deep trouble

  12. What do you mean John?

  13. Not getting too excited – reckon this poll is not rogue but at extreme end of MOE.
    38/39 for cond 32/33 for Labour and 19/20 for LDs still good for Labour and bad for Toties though.
    Simon – your doorstep experience mirriors mine in 1992. Few voters will say bad things to you when asked on the doorstep as they don’t want to be rude as the Cammo detoxification has gone far enough to stem some of the hatred like Kinnock had in 92.
    If Labour had got the usual %age of ‘possibles’ from canvess returns voting for them they would have won.
    In the ‘Anyone but Election’ though I still expect the anti-Lab vote to out do the Anti Con vote but hung is looking ever more likely than overall majority.

  14. I’m not sure I find the poll startling at all. Yes the changes are within the margin of error and, yes, YouGov polls have tended to show Labour support at a slightly higher level than others but it comes as part of an established and clear trend.

    If the Tories continue with what has so far been a timid and confused campaign then it won’t be startling to see a Labour lead within the next fortnight or so.

  15. I am getting totally sick of these daily polls. All I want is the chance to vote properly even if the wrong side get in. I am begining to hate living. Just give us the bloody chance of a real vote and show some proper courage for once Gordon. I still don’t think you have the bottle to call an early election.

  16. @ P Radford – Hopefully he has the sense NOT to call an election while this is going on.

    Anyway, thinking about the marginals……

    Surely the conservatives will have been conducting their own polling pretty thoroughly? I’m not hearing very convincing noises from them that they are showing much better results. For instance, if they had one showing a 12% lead in the marginals wouldn’t they be shouting about it??

  17. Whether or not this is MoE variation or a ‘real’ result, the reaction of Tories will be critical. Given that MoE variation could as likely have been in the other direction, the fact that it isn’t will create outright panic in an already wobbly Tory party – this could, in the right/wrong* circumstances [*delete according to preference] in itself lead to further doubts among voters. Lots of things seem to have turned alongside this which makes me tend to think it is more than just MoE. The IoS is reporting a Tory ‘lurch to right’ and someone above mentioned Mori polling in the Observer suggesting underlying moves back to Labour – all bad news for Cameron.

    Without wishing to appear partisan, I also note the BBC is reporting this morning that Cameron is going to say that it is his ‘patriotic duty’ to get rid of Brown. Personally, I hate that kind of talk, and it harks back to the worst days of Thatcherism when only the Tories were good enough to be considered ‘patriotic’. If he uses that line it will cost him votes, and it will add to the impression of a supremely arrogant young man who can’t entertain other peole’s valid viewpoints. Error alert.

  18. @darren Bunt – “This is terrible for the Tories, but what is the game changer? ”

    I said at the time that the gamechanger was Mandelson’s speech at the Labour conference, Oct 09. It all started there.

  19. Really Alec??? Fascinating. It was good.

    still think this is a combination of :

    1)Toxic Tory brand never really resolved
    2)Economy improving
    3)Lack of Tory Policy (or at least the ability to get it across)
    4)Strange flip-flop of GB image in public mind. I watch incredulously as he seems to be going from liability to asset

  20. The Conservatives are entering an election with a leader who lacks gravitas. As people consider the importance of the election they will lose nerve. People I meet seem to believe that the Conservative they trust is William Hague. He was young and fighting a sea change when he contested against a charismatic, popular Tony Blair. Things have changed in his direction and I think the Conservatives will soon realise this was a strategic error. Brown is unpopular and there is an increasing sense of public malaise with loss of individual freedom and uncomfortable cultural change, which fuels debates like immigration and social services. But Brown has both experience and gravitas and, as the day approaches, I think people will increasingly see him as an unwelcome but safer option.

  21. Sue –

    Different John here, but Greg Dyke was on AM this morning comparing the poll figures from first edition of the Sunday Times with those in the later edition. The figures seemed to be different, but it wasn’t clear whether Greg was mis-reading them or what.

  22. I hope the poll is accurate and that things stay close.

    It certainly makes for a more interesting election and election night than when a party is comfortably in front.

    1992 was the last close one.

  23. This is really fascinating. I am no fan of NL (I am kind of hoping for a hung parliament) but I have been able to watch the mood of all my friends and colleagues shifting over the last few weeks. As a bunch of liberal-lefties we are natural lab-lib-green voters, and there was a mood of great despondency for most of the last year or two. However as the Tories began to sense victory in their grasp the real ‘grass-roots’ began to raise its voice. The bloggers, anti-environmentalists, and the free-market Daniel Hannons of the Tory right.

    Those who felt at least resigned to Cameron have been galvanized into thinking that although they may not like Labour, and agree that they are tired, Cameron simply will not be able to keep a lid on his party’s fringe – whatever he says. I don’t know how far this late rally for labour will continue or if it would be enough, but I think it may account for a great deal of this movement.

  24. Sue – I think the first edition quoted the left hand column on the first table (under 18th-19th Feb) which had the lead as 39 vs 33, or Dyke mis-read it as referring to this week.

  25. I think this is a not a rogue poll but a merely a continuation of the recent trend showing a narrowing Tory poll lead.
    The following snapshot questions from this poll show the reason for Labour’s recovery;

    – Brown leads Cameron on raising living standards by 28%-27%.
    – 50% think Brown has a strong sense of right and wrong.
    – Brown leads Cameron on understanding problems faced by ordinary people by 35%-25%.

    Although the Tories may well get a short term poll boost in the next YouGov poll due out Monday night on the back of media coverage of their weekend Spring Conference. This would put them back to a 4%-6% lead.

    However – if the YouGov trendline of a narrow Tory poll lead (6% or less) continues throughout next week I expect that Labour will have good prospects of starting the election campaign being neck & neck in the polls.

    It will certainly make for an exciting Election night whatever the final result.

  26. If is obviously a big IF but IF the Conservatives do not win an outright majority there is surely going to be a massive enquiry into how a small group of inexperienced kids effectively took over the party with so little scrutiny. The problems which they face at the moment surely stem from the fact that they are not able to connect with enough of the electorate – and this was an entirely foreseeable result.

    I bet heavily against DC becoming leader in 2005 and lost badly. I just couldn’t believe the party would elect someone so far removed from most people’s experience of life. But having won I was then sure that DC would redress the balance by constructing a team more reflective of the make up of the population. But did he? God no! Instead he is surrounded by virtual clones of himself. Starting with Shadow Chancellor GO – Tory central office background, toff, never had a real job (sound familiar?). It is obvious to everyone in the party and the country that W Hague should be S Chancellor but DC prefers allegiance to his CRD mate – WHY?.

    The ‘Tory Toff Takeover’ was masked for a long time by the strength of the economy. In good times people were much more forgiving. Everyone was doing well in 05 and 06 and the fact that the Tories were being run by a clique of 30 year old public schoolboys just playing at politics didn’t seem to matter. Hell, many people probably even aspired to be like them – in wealth terms at least. But then reality (read ‘recession’) hits and everyone wakes up. DC/GO etc are NOT like everyone else, and resentment starts to build – just as it has against other priviledged sections of society.

    The other criticism of GO’s policies in particular is the appalling timing. He would not make much of a fund manager. At the top of the cycle we get bull market policies on inheritance tax cuts (did he never talk to D Willetts about his analysis on how the richer Baby Boomers are the last people who should be being helped given that they have appropriated much of the nation’s wealth through property inflation) and green issues. This top of the market nonsense has now been replaced (at the bottom of the cycle) but the politics of austerity – which is just as badly timed. It is obvious to most people that the next Chancellor should be Vince Cable and surely now there is every chance of that happening.

    The idea that DC/GO are remotely like TB/GB is ridiculous. TB was public school, charming, big picture, reassuring to GB’s working class, dour Scot, figures orientated, policy wonk side kick. DC and GO are virtually identical in every respect.

    It isn’t GO’s fault of course. He was given the job and he’s doing his best – but it’s so clear that he is just a central office hack obsessed by playing politics and not a serious figure at all. He should go an do a proper job for 10 years and come back – then he will do fine.

    The others around Cameron are just as bad, and this is where I think he will be vilified if he fails to win. Most of the ‘advisors’ on which he so heavily relies are almost exact copies. George Bridges, Eton, CRD, never proper job; K Fall, public school, CRD never proper job, P Campbell, not a toff but CRD and certainly never proper job – of the inner circle only really Coulson is a normal person (in the sense the public understands it).

    DC has got to wake up, smell the coffee and realise that if he aspires to govern ALL of Britain he needs to start listening to some people who are more representative of them. But the kids have take over and I doubt it’s going to happen!

  27. Labour supporters have returned. The trend is running labours way. There will be a several causes and the comments above encompass many. Undoubtedly the attacks on GB have backfired for whatever reason. The trend towards labour has been slow but has seemed to accelerate. Perceptions once inplanted can take a longtime to nullify. I don’t expect a sudden reversal to 8-10 pt Con lead

  28. Long time since I last posted a comment here, though I do read it every day (sad but true). A quick question about “margin of error”, when pollsters give a margin of error of + or – 3%, do they mean 3 points (i.e. if the Labour % is 33 then the margin of error band is 30-36) or 3% of the values (i.e. if the Labour % is 33 then the margin of eror is 32.01 – 33.99).

    A quick comment about this and recent polls, while I am here. A trend of a shortening gap between Labour and the Conservatives is obvious, but until recently this was due to a rise in Labour support, whilst the last few polls have also shown a drop in Conservative support.

    In the Thatcher years this seemed to be the norm, high opposition polling % until just before the General election, when the governing party would increase their support and take the day?

  29. If I were still a Labour supporter I’d be very excited by this, but now less so, now just astonished. I’m thinking this is a rogue poll, but then even if it is, then the 5-6% leads aren’t on the outside of probability, they are probably near the middle. That in itself is making an outright Conservative victory seem increasingly difficult.

    Anyway, I think the Conservative campaign thus far has been quite poor, a lot of misjudged attacks and no distinctive or convincing. All that centrist stuff is ok but the centre is quite well stuffed with other parties offering slight variations, and unfortunately ever since the “cast iron” moment Cameron isn’t quite the flavour of the month anymore.

  30. I think it is not surprising that labour would campaign to shore up their core support – there are a lot of people dependent on govt hand outs an local central govt wages.

    So the tend is to be expected. I would expect Labour to poll at least 32. So there is ample margin for error in this sample.

    Bur there are 11% ‘others’ who are clearly keeping the tories down from 40. These people are dicing with death.

    But the circumstances of the moment must be remembered. We are in a pre election ‘boom’. The govt is propping up its position with countless billions it has not got. It is widely pretending that this will be easy to pay back with no real suffering. Does it really dawn on the electorate the difference between 1 billion and 200 billion?

    Interest rates are non existent. Which means mortgage repayments are currently low, inflation has not yet taken off. People may well be thinking there is no great problem.

    Brown would till be foolish not to call an election tomorrow.

    And regarding polls – why were there 2 figures reported and just what changes did YouGov make to thier methodologies? Before this distinct swith back to labour. And just where does the YouGov relative under recording of LDs come from which seems to benefit Labour.

    Who would have though their was so much to talk about in an opinoion poll.

  31. Absolutely zero surprise. Which party would want the responsibility for the very tough decisions that are going to have to made so hung parliament and plenty of elections here we come

  32. The long hard look line looks very effective – especially against the Cons ‘Year for change’- when your looking at that change, the voters don’t seem to like it.

  33. The poll contains many negatives for Brown. Brown being more fair to a greater range of the population is however a telling statistic in this poll. There is no denying Labour need more support from Midlands and Wales

  34. Is George Osborne frightening the electorate so much with talk of public spending cuts and inevitable public sector job losses that he may be single handedly about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the Tories? His apparent honesty over the pain that will be necessary sooner or later is admirable, but the Tory statements about timing of the cuts lacks credibility – last weekend the economists supporting Osborne in their letter to the Sunday Times were outnumbered three-to-one by a more credible bunch of economists in their letters to the FT that back Labour’s stated plan for timing of the public spending cuts. However truthful or untruthful the Labour policy is (or will turn out to be), voters are going to vote for pain tomorrow rather than pain today.

    If the Tories lose the election or even end up with a hung parliament then future questions may be asked about whether Mr Osborne was seen by the electorate to be economically naive and / or politically inept. Maybe the Tories shouldn’t be surprised having chosen a 38 year old history graduate to be the candidate to do probably the most important job in Britain for the next five years? He is too young to remember past Tory mistakes like Margaret Thatcher and Alan Walter’s catastrophic public spending cuts in the midst of the 1980-81 recession. Then again, should the party leader who chose him and publically backs his economic policy be trusted to run the country either?

    It is all rather a shame because the country probably needs a new government to shake it up and clear away the beaurocracy, quangos and over spending of the Labour years. Gordon Brown and his colleagues would probably lose the election all on their own if only the Tories had kept quiet on the economy or adopted the ‘go for growth’ slogan that is now firmly owned by Labour.

  35. We must all know that the political strategists at the
    top certainly don’t wait for any poll to be published in
    the newspapers. Polls are taken daily and in private.
    Looking at George Osbourne and Peter Hain on the AM show today it was clear to me that there were no
    surprises. Personally I don’t believe the latest 2%
    Tory lead, its more likely to be about 5%.
    However talking daily to many people of all political
    views its obvious that Brown’s government has turned a corner and that staying with them is now increasing seen as a safer bet.

  36. @ANTHONY WELLS
    I approach you as a very confused poster not an aggressive Tory supporter. The Ipsos Mori 5 point lead was described by the sponsering newspaper as not proving much. Its results were then in as many words trashed by Mike Smithson who implied the Tory lead looked twice 5 points hen analised and weighted. Now we have a You Gov 6 point lead which between publications becomes 2 points! Once again, this has been picked up and commented on by PB. Anthony please believe me when I say I am not attempting to turn these polls into a Tory success story, but what is going on?

  37. The polls do not square with my personal experience of reality – which is limited to the people I speak to – mainly in England. It is hard to find someone who supports Labour or Brown.

    It is generally acknowledged that government lose elections rather than oppositions winning them, so it is also difficult to understand how a government that has ran up a £800bn and growing deficit can be level in the polls with any other party. How could anyone possibly do any worse.

    I think that this is down mainly to the Conservatives failing to communicate a complex message to the electorate – i.e. that the severity and length of our recession is due to Labour mismanagement (nothing in the bank when the recession started) and that we have not yet felt the impact because Gordon has cleverly delayed (not prevented) the impact by borrowing yet more and devaluing the pound (Zimbabwe style printing money). I also wonder whether there is a serious problem with the pollsters weighting, or even whether people are not being honest with pollsters. The Conservative message needs to focus on how Gordon could not balance the books in good times, so he certainly cannot be considered competent to reduce a deficit in tough times.

    Conservatives have been very quiet. I wonder whether many of them genuinely do not want to win the election so that Gordon can reap what he has sown.

  38. I think the single thing that changed everyting was the Brown letters to people who had lost relatives in Afghanistan. The Sun’s attack on Brown was seen as unfair, and Brown emerged as an imperfect human beng with genuine feelings.

    I think this caused people to look at the mud slung at brown and the mud slingers a lot more carefully.

    Cameron would do well to abandon the abuse and propose some firm policies, but unfortunately he appears not to have any, except tax and cut – a far less attractive prospect than growth – with of course some taxes and minor cuts – as proposed by Labour.

    Little wonder they are losing support.

  39. The 6 pages of spreadsheets at

    contain certainly some of the best questions yet put. In addition to those mentioned by others just look at the question ‘do you know what they stand for’ (page 5). It would appear that spending millions on telling people something does not produce the effect one would presumably wish for unless the campaign is precisely not to tell people that. Have a look yourself.

    I did cite earlier the policy-light campaign of the Tories and it would appear they have achieved what they set out to do (but will they now hold to that method?).

  40. Roland – my post above I think explains the confusion in the reading of the Sunday Times

    the left hand column on the first table (under 18th-19th Feb) which had the lead as 39 vs 33 was I think mistakenly taken as referring to this poll

  41. P Radford’s comment is partisan and silly. An election even if called now would hardly be “early” and most people would think it a dreadful waste of taxpayers’ money to have an election in April followed by local elections in May. Probably the same sort of people who are still clamouring for an early election!

    Roland if you read the above comments it’s clear that the 6% Tory lead referred to LAST weekend’s poll, no-one “changed the figures”. It’s just that someone mistakenly referred to the 6% one as a new poll. Nevertheless I do remain cautious until there is corroborative evidence.

  42. I was surprised to listen to the excerpt from William Hague’s speech on Sky News, in which his main theme was GB is useless & if you want to avoid 5 more years of him you have to vote Tory. I know he was addressing the Tory faithful, but this is the same message that has patently failed over the past 2 to 3 months. The Tories need a positive message & if Cameron doesn’t have one to deliver, I suspect the game is up.

  43. @Roland – The Sunday Times protecting its scoop and using the old figures in its first edition seems the most plausible explanation – See David Roe’s post on PB.

    David Row says “The poll date on the first edition says
    ‘YouGov interviewed sample of 1,436 adults online across Britain on Feb 25-26.
    So I reckon they were using older data as they knew they had a headline-grabber for the second edition and wanted to make sure that they were the paper people grab.?”

    I have to say, posters on PB seems to forget that the polls are not carried out for their benefit. The Sunday Times paid for it, they can run it when they like, and embargo it until when they like.

  44. I do think this is a rogue poll, but it does show us that the polls at 5 or 6 points are within the margin of error in labours favour.

    It goes against what many are saying on here that the lead is really 8/9 and the 5/6s are sampling errors.

    I predict the election result will be,

    37
    34
    20

  45. Statto – PoliticalBetting – the clue is in the name. Gamblers make more money out of confused markets than out of predictable ones.

    If everyone says the lead is x%, then ther’s no money to be made. If some say x% and some say y%, you can use your knowledge of “form” to beat the market.

    Not suggesting for a nano-sec Mike Smithson encourages the market to confuse itself, or is in anyway disreputable, but his readers (if they are gamblers) look for discrepancies and put money on accordingly.

  46. @JOHN, BARNABY & STATTO
    Yes, thanks chaps, your comments tie in with the brighter sparks on the PB site. However I cannot get the extaordinary comments Mike Smithson made re the Ipsos Mori poll the other day. I tried to get a view from Sue yesterday but in all fairness (thats a word we will hear a lot) Sue, whilst being very sensible is not likely to rubbish a strong Labour poll result.

  47. Roland – YouGov is subject to the same as Angus Reid in that they might be completely wrong. We can’t know until the GE results are in.

    What’s interesting is that the change in momentum deriving from the polling results has its own effect. Labour voters less shy, more campaingning in seats they had given up on, etc.

    Personally, I think whoever has the most appealing policies will prevail, rather than who has the most money

  48. Roland –

    I think Statto is right. Certainly these are exactly the same figures that we ran the tables for on Friday afternoon. The Sunday Times wanted to make a big splash of it – hence the reason Peter and I didn’t do the normal releasing the figures for it at 10 o’clock.

    I don’t know if there was a fake front page on preview editions (some of the people citing the wrong figures last night seemed to be accidentally looking at the Sunday Times from the 21st Febuary) but if the ST wanted to keep it secret until it was too late for other newspapers to report it’s something they could have done.

    How newspapers do their preview front pages, first editions, when they go to press and what sort of skullduggery they get up to to protect a scoop are not things I know much about… but these figures are the ones I saw on Friday and there were never any other ones.

  49. I’ve just read the comment by David Roe that Statto referred to…

    “Holding big stories to later editions to prevent being ripped off is a very common practice. I’ve been handed huge stories myself at 3am to put online and it would have not even been hinted at in earlier editions.”

    … so it would seem that the Sunday Times holding it back to stop other papers nicking it is indeed the likely explanation.

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