There are three voting intention polls tonight. Their topline figures are as follows

YouGov/Sun – CON 37%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%
ICM/Guardian – CON 37%, LAB 36%, LDEM 16%
Populus/Times – CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%

ICM shows Labour down since before the phone hacking scandal broke, putting the Conservatives ahead for the first time in months. Populus show the Conservatives sharply down. What’s the real situation?

First off, it’s worth remembering that all polls are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points – so if Populus happen to have got a sample that’s a bit light on loyal Tories, if ICM have a sample that’s a bit light on loyal Labour voters, there’s your difference. The methodologies used by ICM and Populus are very similar, so sample error is the most obviously explanation for the difference.

ICM continue to show much higher support for the Liberal Democrats than any other company – ComRes, Populus & MORI all tend to have them at about 11%, with YouGov a point or two lower – the reasons for the size of the difference are unclear, but this difference probably also explains why ICM has twice shown a Tory lead this year: their 2010 Lib Dem voters seem to be less likely to have switched to Labour than those in other polls.

So, has “hackgate” impacted on voting intention or not? Well, the biggest advantage of YouGov’s daily polling is that we don’t need to worry about random sample error to the same extent – if there is a rogue poll, it should become clear the following day. The news that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked, which effectively brought the phone hacking scandal to a peak, broke on the 4th July. In the month leading up to that YouGov had pretty consistently shown a Labour lead of 5-7 points, with the Conservatives on 36-37% and Labour on 41-43%. In the fortnight since then YouGov has shown Labour leads of 8+ points on five occassions, and the Conservatives down on 35% on five occassions. While one cannot rule out co-incidence, this obviously suggests a small but genuine knock to the Conservative party’s support from hackgate. However, the last three YouGov polls have been back within the normal “pre-hackgate” range, suggesting it may have been a short-term effect that is already fading. We shall see.

The big increase in Lib Dem support in the ICM poll is probably illusionary – they fell by 3 points in the last ICM poll so I suspect the increase this month is mostly just a reversion to the mean. Populus’s Lib Dem score a month ago was also conspicuously low. However it’s possible that there has been some benefit for the Lib Dems, while their score in YouGov’s daily poll today is typical, they hit 11% in a YouGov poll on Sunday for the first time in weeks. I’ll reserve judgement on that one.

The other impact of “hackgate” is on perceptions of the leaders. Now, there are two ways of measuring whether an event has changed how people perceive a party or leader. You can ask people if their opinion has gone up or down, which is what Populus did in their survey. This found 39% of people thought worse of Cameron as a result of hackgate, but also found people were more likely to think worse than better of Ed Miliband. However, questions like this tend to give misleading results – people who never liked a politician to start with say it’s made their view worse and vice-versa.

The better way, if you are lucky enough to be in the position to do it, is to have asked people what they think before the event happened, ask them again afterwards, and see what the difference is. ICM, YouGov and ComRes have all been in a position to do this, and have found the same pattern – David Cameron’s ratings are down, but only marginally, Ed Miliband’s ratings are significantly up.

While YouGov found people thought Cameron had handled the phone hacking affair badly, it hasn’t had much affect upon his approval ratings. YouGov have Cameron’s approval rating at minus 12, compared to minus 10 before hackgate. ICM have his approval rating at minus 5, unchanged from last month. ComRes have 33% thinking he is a good PM, down from 37% a month ago. In contrast, there clearly has been a positive effect on how people view Ed Miliband. His approval rating from YouGov has risen from minus 34 to minus 21, his rating from ICM has risen from minus 21 to minus 16, with ComRes 27% think Miliband is turning out to be a good leader, up from 18%. Whether these positive ratings remain once the political agenda moves on is, of course, something else that remains to be seen.

So in conclusion – from the polling so far hackgate appears to have had only a small negative effect on the Conservatives in the polls, and one which may already be fading. While people think Cameron has handled it badly, it has had only a minor effect on his broader approval ratings. Ed Miliband meanwhile has seen a significant boost in how the public see him, though it remains to be seen if it lasts.

The other poll tonight is from ComRes for ITV news. The most interesting question in there was whether people agreed or disagreed that James Murdoch should resign – 65% think he should, 9% disagree.


317 Responses to “The polling effect of “Hackgate””

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  1. Tories vary by 3%, Labour by 6% and Lib Dems by 7% (!).

    A good analysis of why this might be though :-)

    And yep, for all the commentary, it doesn’t look like this has particular had any real effect on the VIs.

  2. Average of tonight’s three poll extravaganza:

    Con 36
    Lab 39
    LD 12

    LAB majority of 30 on electoral calculus.

    LD’s have the most to smile about tonight.

  3. Surely the question is why YouGov consistently rate the Lib Dems lower than all other polls. Given that they have daily polls, Do they have an undue influence on the daily averages?

  4. What I think would be interesting is a poll asking whether Cameron should resign over the affair.

  5. Ladbrookes have slashed the odds on David Cameron being the next minister to resign, from 100 to 1 before the scandal broke, to 8 to 1 this evening.

  6. Not a good idea to take 3 polls in one day if one of those polls is very liekly to be a rogue, Robsheffield. If it is an outlier it will just distort picture.

    Talking of selective reporting of polls notice Tom Bradby showing his usual lack of balanced reporting in tonights News at Ten when he said problem for Milliband was that opinion poll – yes he said poll not polls – showed Tories ahead. He negelected to mention that two others polls showed Labour leading and in one Tory vote dropping dramatically. Selective reporting?

  7. JAYBLANC

    I think you may have dug up the most significant bit of evidence this evening. Bookies have to be pretty good at ‘sniffing the wind’ and the change in odds on Cameron’s resignation chances is really quite extraordinary. 100-1 down to 8-1 in pretty rapid time is impressive.

  8. Here’s an article about Coulson from Sept 2010 Independent.

    Everything is there, but Coulson stayed with Cameron for another four months.

    quote: “So what can Cameron do? Coulson is the story, and is a distraction, even if he is as pure as the driven snow. The weight of circumstantial – and, increasingly, legal evidence – is too strong for this to blow over. Cameron’s instinct, if he continues to believe in Coulson’s innocence, is to circle the wagons and back his man, for personal as well as professional reasons. So should he ask him to step aside until this is all cleared up? For his friends at Wapping, even that would be an admission of guilt, which could have major and diverse knock-on consequences for his former colleagues. “

  9. AW

    Isn’t it ‘Hackergate’ not ‘Hackgate’? Not that it matters very much!

  10. One thing, storm clouds are building on the economy and bank share prices are tumbling.

    It’s possible uncertainty about Cameron’s position is a factor, along with those stress tests and the imminent Greek/Portuguese/Irish/Spanish?Italian crises.

    Maybe Cameron will have to go like Stephenson, Brooks, Coulson etc because he couldn’t get on with his job any more.

  11. @ Anthony
    Excellent summary. It looks as though there will another evening of over excited and partisan posting so I am off to do other things, as I do not want to get involved.
    @Rob Sheffields
    Your 10.04 post is probably fair comment as well.

  12. This plethora of polls tonight is interesting and, in varying degrees, supports the theory I’ve been expounding for some time. As Anthony points out, differing sampling methodology and MOE could explain some of the seeming contradictions between the pollsters (ICM and Populus particularly), and YouGov is steady as she blows, but it’s the leaders personal approval ratings that are the key in the long term. They’ve definitely shifted in Miliband’s favour and, looking at the blanket news coverage tonight, with even usually sympathetic reporters like Bradby and Robinson saying it’s appearing increasingly bad for Cameron, then I expect the shifting public perceptions to move yet more favourably for Miliband.

    If I’m right, and Miliband starts to articulate policies that resonate with the public, then I think the polls will eventually reflect this. The convergence of his improved personal image and a credible policy platform could transform the political scene, but I’d counsel against looking for rapid and dramatic movement. 12-18 months would be my timescale, but the polls are suggesting that Miliband is certainly starting to turn the oil tanker around.

  13. Howard – you could just ignore the guff and try and drown it out with sensible and measured posts!

  14. Nick Poole

    ‘Here’s an article about Coulson from Sept 2010 Independent’

    Here we go again. Better sign off.

    Overall a better night for LDs, and I’m happy with that but YOUGOV back at usual, I should think the Tories will be relieved, and Labour disappointed.

  15. But remember Ghan, Bradby is one of the ‘chums’ – so dont be too surprised.

  16. As an instinctive red I’m not disappointed, although I keep wishing the world would see sense and see things like I do.

    But the big story is still NI and Coulson and will be for two more days until the recess.

    And I expect it will then be the eurozone and our GDP figures.

  17. Alan/Ghan – It’s a generally problem that’s nothing to do with Bradby in particular.

    The media tend to report polls they think are exciting and surprising, and ignore the normal run of the mill polls showing not much changing. In effect of course, this means that they ignore the broad picture of trends in public opinion and are mostly likely to mention rogue polls.

    Hence why I started this website. In 6 years they have improved a bit.

  18. Anthony & Howard

    To be fair it’s only really Nick Poole that never stops banging on about Cameron – he’s giving this website a bad name and should be barred, IMO.

  19. Always nice to hear from the even handed and polite sergio.

    Say the word AW and I’m gone.

  20. @ Lib Dem
    Surely the question is why YouGov consistently rate the Lib Dems lower than all other polls.
    They’re far closer to ComRes (10%), Populus & Ipsos Mori (11%) than ICM’s 16%. I suspect the turnout weighting and don’t know reallocations account for the 2% difference.

  21. Alan, “Bradby one of the “chums”? Who are the”Chums” ?

    Anthony, the contrast between Channel 4 news reporting of these three polls and itv reporting one of the polls was noticeable. I visited this site for a more balanced analysis and informed ITV news and Mr Bradby (via twitter) that they might gain from reading your article.

  22. Please spell `occasion’ correctly. Not occassion.

    Otherwise good work.

  23. Anyway back to the polls – a very interesting and important set of results that indicates that once again the world outside the Westminster/media bubble takes a rather different view to those within it.

    I tend to agree that after the hyperbole of the past few days, the Cons will feel relieved things aren’t worse and Lab will feel things should be better – but that’s only because they believed the hype in the first place!

    I think these polls will calm the jitters at Tory HQ. They may even consider that any distraction from the economy is welcome, and thank Ed M for that. Only time will tell who “hackgate” really favours.

  24. have just watched Newsnight and I am becoming disgusted by the attitude of both Lab And Con MPs. Evidently those at fault are confined to the media and the police. No review necessary into the “corruption” by both main parties although each will blame the other. I use the word corruption because both parties have been prepared to accept (unacceptable to the rest of us) situations in order to curry favour with, in particular, NI.

    Tonight the Tory MP, whose name I did not hear, was obnoxious in his behaviour referring at one point to the current situation as a minor problem.

    A couple of weeks ago several posters were saying the issues were a flash in the pan and “it is the economy stupid” while the many of us were saying that while the economy is obviously a major factor in VI, this issue will rumble on and depending on the outcome will probably have a major effect on VI.

    Well two weeks later there is no sign of it abating and based on my comments in the first couple of sentences I can see the support for both major parties decreasing to the benefit of the smaller parties. Hopefully this will last thro until 2015 although I accept the electorate have short memories.

  25. Nick Poole

    It’s nothing personal, I just think you’re drowning everyone else out.

  26. Trying to explain the lack of a broader movement in voting intention, I suggest the following are significant:

    1. Cameron’s reputation with the public has deteriorated a bit, and Miliband’s has recovered significantly but from a low point. Tonight’s “YouGov” bears this out in terms of the questions of the attributes of the party leaders. So given the lack of movement, perhaps opinions of the party leaders do after all matter a bit less than we are being told from some quarters.

    2. The virtual absence of any focus in July on coalition policies has greatly helped the coalition parties. They’re getting on with implementing the cuts almost unnoticed. If Cameron succeeds in deflecting most of the Coulson mud, then this effect could entirely counter it.

    3. The hacking scandal should have helped Clegg by gifting him an issue to put genuine distance between himself and Cameron. And for the first time this year we seem to be without a significant “kick the LDs issue” i.e. the run of bad headlines in the form of tuition fees, broken VAT promises, cuts, local election drubbing, pension cuts has ceased for the time being. But even so, the YouGov trend (including tonights) has hardly pointed to a dramatic LD resurgence from their 9% polldrums. ICM now appear way out of line with every other polling company and I’m inclined to treat them as an outlier in the knowledge that even if every single 2010 LD voter declared themselves to be in the “undecided” camp, ICM would still report that 12% of people (i.e. 50% of 24%) were LD supporters.

    Tactically, I suggest that it’s time for Miliband to bank the damage scored to Cameron’s reputation, and from this strengthened position to move matters back to a focus on the domestic policies of the Conservatives and their willing LD accomplices, at least once this week’s emergency debate is out of the way. Miliband can rely on the various hacking investigations and what emerges as the police investigations progress to continue to take their toll without having to do much more.

  27. The polls I suspect won’t be that disappointing to Labour. Hackgate is so detailed that most voters won’t follow the threads.

    It’s the big picture that counts and that is marked by institutional chaos and Establishment criminality and incompetence alongside zero leadership and judgement from Cameron. That’ll take time to feed through as it’s repeated and emphasised by inquiry after inquiry, report after report.

    Hackgate will eat away at Cameron as Iraq did at Blair, except Cameron may not last anywhere near as long.

  28. I think it is a typical case of milling in two different mills.

    One is the polls – there is no real reason in the hacking why it should change (apart from the LibDems, but even there it is small – they need a few more cases to show their difference from the other two parties). Mud is thrown about and all get of it, hence the lack of change I believe (with the LibDems it is slightly different: why do you want to go along with either of the two. You do, so you get some of the mud too.)

    The other one is the political centre. In the short-term (maybe even medium) more important. Has Cameron lost the centre (as defined in the mind of the elites) or has he been on the way to do so? If the centre perceives it, he will have to go irrespective to the polls (providing that the Tories find somebody who can emerge fresher). As I wrote it earlier: all the major factions of the elite are interested in stopping the scandal. Their short term interests are against it and this makes it almost impossible to deal with the emerging pieces of news. If the elite perceives that without Cameron there is a better chance of stopping it, they will sacrifice him (that is, announcing the enquiries does not stem the flood of bits of news). I have to add quickly, I don’t yet see this. Lots will depend on Wednesday and then on the silly season in the newspapers.

    During most of the Watergate Nixon had pretty good polling results…

    So, it makes sense to separate the hacking stuff from the poll. The poll reflects the lack of trust in Labour and the kind of disbelief that the Tories are in government. Politically this is nothing – politically it is about removing the hacking scandal from the screens of the TVs – with or without Cameron.

  29. @Anthony W

    “Alan/Ghan – It’s a generally problem that’s nothing to do with Bradby in particular.”

    I think you’re being very kind to Bradby on this. Unusually for me, I actually watched the ITN 10 o’clock bulletin tonight and his piece was typically slanted. There was a very brief snippet of Miliband saying that Cameron was failing to show the leadership required to deal with the deepening crisis embroiling both NI and the Met and then Bradby said this, in deeply sarcastic tones;”The only trouble with that is that a ICM poll in the Guardian has the Tories back in front.” What possible connection was there between the two and why did Miliband’s comment require Bradby’s opinion bolted on to the end of it? He hadn’t offered one on anything that had gone before, including Cameron’s press conference in South Africa and it seemed be another highly selective and tendentious piece of journalism.

    He could just as easily have said after the excerpt of Cameron explaining the difference between his appointment of Coulson and Sir Paul Stephenson’s appointment of Wallis; “The only trouble with that is that a Populus poll in tomorrow’s Times shows a 5% drop in Tory support and Labour moving 5% ahead. He chose not too and it’s choice that speaks volumes.

  30. Mark Bicknell

    “Otherwise good work.”

    This sentence would have been improved by more accurate punctuation.

    Otherwise, good work.

  31. @ Ian McKay

    “The polls I suspect won’t be that disappointing to Labour. Hackgate is so detailed that most voters won’t follow the threads.”

    it’s a shame on the media to be honest, especially that of BBC, who did not really have scoop in this and has not had a summary programme. But it is a minor issue.

    “It’s the big picture that counts and that is marked by institutional chaos and Establishment criminality and incompetence alongside zero leadership and judgement from Cameron. That’ll take time to feed through as it’s repeated and emphasised by inquiry after inquiry, report after report.”

    Fully agree – this is what frustrates the public. Behind the flashing screens, that, as you said, they cannot follow, equation marks are drawn. They will want a simple solution that finishes it. But what simple solution would satisfy them?

  32. I don’t think you’ll find either the police or the public enquiry will have anything to say about Cameron’s “leadership”. And as for his judgement, the extent of any wrongdoing by Murdoch, Brooks and/or Coulson won’t have a significant impact on that. Only the degree of Cameron’s knowledge of the wrongdoing (prior to hiring Coulson in opposition, prior to his hiring him into the government and prior to his eventual resignation) will matter. Ultimately any predictions on that score as so completely underpinned by partisan opinion that they count for virtually nothing.

    I agree with Phil that Miliband should “bank” his gains and move on to something else. Not tomorrow or this week, necessarily, but within another week or two.

  33. AW – re Bradby

    Have you considered suggesting to your clients that the timing of the release of YouGov polls might be brought forward by half an hour or so, to enable polls commissioned by their papers to get equivalent coverage to those commissioned by the Guardian on the 10pm news?

    (Although on second thoughts, given that their papers are currently in the news anyway, maybe it would be worth sitting on that one for a bit.)

  34. RE: 10:43

    That wasn’t my post. Hrm maybe I need a distinguishing moniker if that was a truly coincidental post using an identical name…

  35. I am as unconvinced that a good/bad performance in a debate in parliament instantly moves voting intention in a week as I am sceptical about a single economic indicator having a discernable effect.

    That said, the significance of the MI story is the fact that it isn’t over in a week. In fact it will go on for years with a steady drip of information. It will have its effect especially on the assessment of party leaders (which isn’t the whole story for VI anyway) and on the disengagement with politics (“They are all the same/in it together/out for what they can get etc. etc.”)

    It will have its effect all right, just don’t expect it to be a blip one week and forgotten the next. That’s just MOE.

  36. My feeling is that this whole saga is being played out to only a small percentage of the population that truly understands the depth of this earthquake. Most of the general public are left looking glazed and dazed by ‘HackAC/DCmetgate.’

    That is why no substantial shift in the polls have come from this. But that is not to say that irreversible damage has been done to the Government’s facade.

    Politics is all about perception, while most may not grasp the gravity of what is going on because it does not touch on their lives directly, most will recognise the troubling tones.

    When this Westminster soap bubble finally pops, Cameron who once looked squeaky clean will now now look scummy.

    Ed who has played a blinder as the leading good guy, must now transform himself into the minds of the masses that he looks like Prime Minister material.
    Tricky. Seeing Gordon Brown back in the commons with his great clunking fist last week reminded me of what a real solid Prime Minister looked like. I just got this feeling that the nation will be yearning for a character like this, after growing tired of the smooth talking young men.

    I think the Tory knives will be out for Cameron if his popularity diminishes. If Ed Milliband does not start raising his popularity in the medium term on the back of this, he too may find a more weighty contender emerging from the pack. One swallow does not make a summer for Nick Clegg. The LibDems damaged goods will fall if Cameron does as they look to recover from a position of virtual extinction.

    I wonder what the odds are for 3 different party leaders to be in place before the next general election?

  37. Some of you very nicely responded to me last night a few threads ago and just wanted to quickly respond.

    @ Nick Poole

    “The accusation against Cameron seems to be this:

    The appointment of Coulson was at the recommendation (insistence) of Brooks with the the intention of strengthening ties between NI and Cameron and then no 10 (the papers supported Cameron to get into no 10). NI dictated media policy. Coulson had just resigned from NI over phone tapping.

    As somebody has just said, any assurances Coulson gave Cameron were not believable. He was editor.

    But then before moving into no 10, various people, including the Queen’s Equerry, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Guardian and Lord Ashdown all strongly advised Cameron not to take Coulson into no 10. But he did.

    Then he supported Coulson when the flak was flying.

    Two big problems could be that having spurned everybody else’s advice about Coulson he accepted Rupert Murdoch’s assurances that their would be no problems…and possibly more damning if shown to be true, that Coulson only resigned because Murdoch told him to.

    In the meantime Cameron was meeting NI leaders more than a couple of dozen times, his Government was laying waste to the BBC…and he did not meet the BBC at all.

    It can be interpreted two ways:

    Cameron was a “bought and paid for” Murdoch Man; or

    Cameron was less careful than he should have been about his dealings with NI

    The first would clearly be a resigning matter, but the second would be a matter of degree and cumulattive effect. It’s certainly the second that Cameron is claiming…which is why he should have apologised when Millband demanded it.

    It might be too late now.”

    I think Cameron hired Coulson because he wanted an experienced media hand to carry out his communications work. It’s not uncommon for politicians to hire experienced news media personel to run their communications operations and usually they’ll prefer someone of their own ideology. Coulson fits the bill. He worked for right wing news media, had a great deal of experience, and seemed like the right guy to run Cameron’s media strategy.

    Now as for Coulson’s bad acts, I don’t think those can be, without anything more, be attributed to Cameron. When we hire people or we go to work for people or even befriend people, we don’t normally expect them to be involved in major criminal and tortious activities. And if they are involved in such activities, the great likelihood is that they’re not going to tell you about it. When they turn out to be involved in such acts, those acts can’t be imputed to you.

    So if, hypothetically, Obama hires a press secretary who turns out to be a rapist and serial killer in his off time, the press secretary’s acts cannot be imputed and attributed to Obama. Now, if such a situation occurred, some people might question Obama’s judgment. “What was he thinking when he hired THAT guy?”

    So in Cameron’s case, as far as facts are currently known, I think it’s fair to question his judgment in terms of his decision to hire a guy who’s involved in all these nefarious activities. But no evidence demonstrates that Cameron participated or knew about what was going on or even took advantage. Additionally, as the facts are currently known, the victims of hackgate or hackergate do not appear to be targeted for the benefit of the Tories or even Cameron’s wing of the party.

    Now you say that Cameron was “laying waste” to the BBC while he was meeting with NI officials. I assume that what you say is correct but that doesn’t neccesarily mean that Cameron was doing the bidding of Rupert Murdoch. The BBC is a publicly run entity as opposed to Rupert News, which is privately owned and operated. Cameron and Osborne have gone after such entities with hacksaws in their efforts to drastically cut government spending. And as you, any of the Labour MPs, any of the Labour posters here (along with the Lib Dems, Scots Nats, and Greens), and Paul Krugman could point out, Cameron has laid waste to a LOT of good and vital public programs and services. They’ve even gone after military spending (something that has helped UKIP and given Labour an opportunity to go after military/defense voters). The BBC doesn’t stand out as a special exception.

    @ Martyn and Barney Crockett

    Thank you for that information on who may vote in UK elections. I find it fascinating. I don’t think I’d approve of non-citizens voting in my elections (although such a set up might be fairer to others around the world who often have to live with what we do and don’t get a say).

  38. @ Martyn (from a few threads ago)

    “You can vote in a election to the UK Parliament in the UK if you are not otherwise disqualified and:

    * are a Commonwealth citizen (a citizen of a country named in Schedule 3 of the British Nationality Act 1981), and/or
    * are a citizen of Ireland, and/or
    * are a citizen of Rwanda, and/or
    * are a citizen of Northern Cyprus

    You can vote in a election to the European Parliament in the UK if you are not otherwise disqualified and:

    * are a European Union citizen (a citizen of a European Union country), and/or
    * you can vote in an election to the UK Parliament in the UK

    Somebody who is a citizen of Ireland or Malta or Cyprus is a Commonwealth citizen and a European Union citizen simultaneously.

    Regards, Martyn

    * h ttp://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/UKgovernment/Politicalpartiesandelections/DG_073240
    * h ttp://www.walsall.gov.uk/index/council_and_democracy/elections/types_of_elections_you_can_vote_in.htm
    * h ttp://www.walsall.gov.uk/index/voting_rights_of_european_nationals.htm
    * h ttp://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/citizenship_of_the_union/l23025_en.htm
    * h ttp://www.europarl.org.uk/section/european-elections/can-i-vote”

    Does this mean that Canadians and Aussies can vote in your elections? Or do they not fall under Schedule 3? And of those entitled to vote under this act, how many take advantage of their franchise?

    I’m not sure I would entirely be comfortable with any kind of scheme like that because I think it gives an opportunity to foreigners to influence elections for their benefit over your own nation’s interests. And I think that one of the rewards and privileges of citizenship is the franchise.

    Of course, I can’t help but wonder if it would be a lot fairer to allow Mexicans and Canadians to vote in U.S. elections, if only because they have to put up with a lot of the decisions of our lawmakers and don’t get to vote for them. I think that’s the rationale behind your voting rules (which quite honestly surprise me). Those who aren’t British but can vote in your elections are affected by the decisions of the UK government.

    Canadians, by virtue of often looking and sounding like Americans, are subject to being treated as Americans by those hostile to Americans around the world. This means that every time we make a major foreign policy move (bombing or launching missiles into some Middle Eastern country) and Americans abroad are placed at risk, Canadians abroad are placed at risk too. Yet those Americans (and their families) get to vote for leaders who will make those kinds of decisions. Canadians don’t.

    Mexicans, who are living in a real life version of the Scream movies right now, due to drug cartel violence and failed government drug policy (being pushed on their president by the same American right wing think tanks that are pushing globally for austerity budgets). These drug cartels, who are turning the streets of Mexico into rivers of blood, would not have the same profitability if not for our idiotic drug laws. And they wouldn’t have as many powerful weapons (being used to outgun Mexican police and even some of their military) if not for our lax gun laws. Yet Mexicans don’t get to vote in our elections (well unless Bob Dornan is to be believed).

    With that in mind, perhaps they should get the right to vote in U.S. elections. It’s only fair that they should get a say in the government policies that so directly impact their lives. However, I’m not sure there’s any limiting principle that would stop at Canadians and Mexicans. For example, if the teabaggers get their way and the U.S. goes into default for the first time in our history on August 2nd, there will be massive economic consequences worldwide. Under my reasoning, perhaps all global residents should get to vote in U.S. elections.

    Allright, I’ve gone off onto a tangent here. But thank you for the information.

  39. “So in conclusion – from the polling so far hackgate appears to have had only a small negative effect on the Conservatives in the polls, and one which may already be fading. While people think Cameron has handled it badly, it has had only a minor effect on his broader approval ratings. Ed Miliband meanwhile has seen a significant boost in how the public see him, though it remains to be seen if it lasts.”

    I’m slightly surprised by the latest polls. I would have expected Labour to be doing a little bit better, just based on YouGov’s tracking.

    So I admit that I haven’t been following this saga all that closely. But it seems to me that Ed has been helped because of his decision to take a leadership role on the role of the media. I think his problem is that he comes off like an awkward teenager leading Labour. By having taken the reins on this issue, it makes him look like a leader and gives more people confidence in him as a potential PM.

    As for Cameron, I think where he’s really hurt is that he sent Jeremy Hunt to go address an emergency session of the House of Commons on the issue oh phone hacking while he went off to go give yet another speech on Big Society. Big Society is a concept that (1) doesn’t make that much sense to begin with, (2) doesn’t seem to be anything that anyone really seems to care about, and (3) has been a big time waster for Cameron to begin with. And I would imagine that he came off as out of touch.

  40. Last night polls were a pleasant surprise to me; not just the figures but also the fact that it seemed to shock some of the regular posters into silence for a while.

    There followed some interesting non partisan debate representing all political parties, where opinions were debated, but politiely with respect for other people’s views, and concentrated on opinion about the polls themselves.

    So of the broadcast ‘Contrasting Polls…’ posts all but 2 were measured comments on the polls, and even the 2 were fairly mild.

    Back to usual on this broadcast, with the propaganda machine in full swing, mostly digs at Cameron (Tories greatest asset so lets hammer him), media bias, Coulson and brilliance of EM.

    So far jibes and insults have not as yet returned, but will once these posters are challenged

    The broadcast affect of hacking well summed up by Anthony. I think overall the results were a little disappointing for Labour, a relief for Tories and encouraging for LDs. We dug ourselves into a hole with tuition fees and deserved to be punished; if we can reach mid teens again we should be happy. This will allow a push as we get closer to GE.

  41. @ Henry

    “So far jibes and insults have not as yet returned, but will once these posters are challenged”

    I think that Anthony prohibits that sort of thing.

    “The broadcast affect of hacking well summed up by Anthony. I think overall the results were a little disappointing for Labour, a relief for Tories and encouraging for LDs. We dug ourselves into a hole with tuition fees and deserved to be punished; if we can reach mid teens again we should be happy. This will allow a push as we get closer to GE.”

    Labour is in a better position than they were prior to this episode largely because their greatest liability (Ed Miliband) has improved and the greatest strength of the Tories (David Cameron) has declined in his leadership ratings.

    “Back to usual on this broadcast, with the propaganda machine in full swing, mostly digs at Cameron (Tories greatest asset so lets hammer him), media bias, Coulson and brilliance of EM.”

    It’s all in good fun.

    I’m starting to think media bias does do great harm to society but not in the way that we typically think.

    A lot of what we perceive as “media bias” isn’t so much bias as it is ignorance and laziness (reporters not reporting proper numbers, repeating spin, not researching claims, etc).

  42. To actually post on the polls –
    I don’t think the 37/42/9 is a recovery for Tories or a loss for Labour – it’s perfectly consistent with Tories at 36 and Labour at 43.
    I will stick my neck out and say I can see a trend with yougov for Lab to fall back to 42 and Lib up to 10 soon.

    I’ll find out over the next week or so – it could just be natural variation, but that’s what starting to indicate at the moment.

  43. Also, we seem to be returning to the inverse-Miliband paradox theory –
    Ed Miliband’s ratings go up, Labour declines.
    Ed Miliband’s ratings go down, Labour improves.

    (This is a joke) ;)

  44. has there been any polling done on culling badgers to control bovine TB?

  45. SOCALLIBERAL

    I’m starting to think media bias does do great harm to society but not in the way that we typically think.

    A lot of what we perceive as “media bias” isn’t so much bias as it is ignorance and laziness (reporters not reporting proper numbers, repeating spin, not researching claims, etc).

    Good point; there is less money in journalism (papers anyway) and in cutting costs, there is a danger that what you say occurs.

    I find some of the quality papers who have a political point of view still provide reasoned argument, such as the Guardian and on occasions the Telegraph.

  46. Also – I’m not sure if anybody’s mentioned it yet, but News International websites (including The Sun) are still down after last night’s attack on them by Lulzsec (the group who went after Sony).

  47. I wonder if, in terms of influencing opinion, putting the Times and otherh NI papers behind a firewall might have been a mistake.

    Those of us who have follow stuff online will tend to only know what is reported about what the Times reports.

  48. oops

    by firewall, I meant paywall, of course

  49. Tinged Fringe

    Any improvement in LD would, I am sure, be gratefully received.

    I suspect that the current LD position is closer to 12% as indicated by the recent poll average.

    If Labour changed focus and turned to cuts and the economy, I think they would gain momentum

    The danger of this approach would be that if the economy improved then Labour would fall back. But is this a risk;? surely they believe the economy will stumble further and in which case they are onto a winner.

    In terms of leadership qualities. Some politicians look best on the attack, while others appear as if they are whining. Miliband would be playing to his strength if he concenerates on the positives, such as past Labour achievements, and future Labour proposals. Obviously as opposition leader he must hold the govt to account; it is here where I think his presentational skills should improve.

    Nick Clegg is getting few accolades for remaining silent; but I think he and the Party really will score when the investigations are concluded and some criticism falls on the other two parties.

    Cameron can be a bit lazy; perhaps due to overconfidence; he also appears best with his back to the wall. He has a chance on Wednesday to prove me right (or wrong); also (IMO) Cameron is good when he appears sincere, but then sometimes he appears contemptious which I do not think the public like.

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