Olympic poll boosts

No – don’t get excited – tonight’s poll doesn’t show one. Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has perfectly normal topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 6%. Once again it is well within the range of the 9-10 point leads that YouGov have been showing for the past couple of months.

As yet there is no sign of any Olympic effect. I wouldn’t necessarily expect one, but I wouldn’t rule one out either, in the same way we saw a (brief) Jubilee effect straight after the Jubilee weekend. Two things to remember:

First, why these things happen. After the Jubilee I saw several comments saying how absurd it was that it affected the polls. Why would someone think “Oh look, the Queen has been there a long time, better vote Tory”? Well, that would be absurd, but the reasons things like this can affect the polls is more straightforward. First there is a general feel good factor – if people feel generally more positive about the country and the way things are going they may be more likely to support the incumbent government. Secondly, and in my opinion probably more significant, is the absence of bad news – looking back over recent months an average month for the government has at least a few party rows, a couple of controversial policies, a spattering of bad news, perhaps a rebellion and, on recent form, a U-turn or two. With the Olympics totally dominating all news coverage the next couple of weeks will have significantly fewer of all those things, so you can imagine how the absence of bad news may have an effect.

Secondly, remember that if there is an Olympic effect on the polls it will be probably be temporary. The Jubilee effect, if it ever existed, only lasted a couple of days. A positive feeling from a big national event fades; once the Olympics and silly season are over the normal news agenda and the trail of bad news stories that governments have to cope with will resume. If the Olympics does have an effect, it is unlikely to be long lasting.

UPDATE: I haven’t seen it mentioned on twitter or by the Indy, but the voting intention fgures from ComRes’s monthly poll have now appeared on their website here. Topline figures, with changes from their previous telephone poll a month ago, are CON 33%(nc), LAB 44%(+2), LDEM 10%(-3), Others 13%(+1). Certainly no sign of any Olympic boost there either!

59 Responses to “Olympic poll boosts”

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  1. colin

    “…and a contrast with the usual American braggart superficiality.”

    You were doing so well up to then. Surely you “proving the stereotype American superficial braggart to be just that, and also misleading and unjust”?

  2. OldNat

    I think you missed my point which was that some form of protection for MPs is needed, not from prosecution but from using prosecution for what might be relatively trivial cases[1] to get rid of members from the House of Commons.

    The trouble is that serious or serious-sounding offences can quite often conjured up from trivial stuff. You only have to look at the fuss over various twitter-storms[2] and that fact that some prosecutions and convictions have resulted. Obviously if equivalent actions were taken against everyone who made those sort of statements in the ‘social media’ the streets would be empty. So who gets picked on is more to do with the whims of the media and the intentions of the establishment than any real considerations of justice or likely harm.[3]

    Even the Huhne case which you allude to (and where the offence took place over ten years previously) was seen by many as something that everyone did. At least that seemed to be the opinion among Telegraph readers until they realised he was a Lib Dem and should therefore be burnt at the stake. It was also another situation where the media dictated how the case ran.

    As I said political history is full of instances where individual MPs have been attacked by some branch of the establishment over fairly small faults in an attempt to get rid of them. The UK’s protection is fairly minimal compared to some countries, but it does help give MPs a little more freedom to represent their constituents.

    [1] And this isn’t going by the definition that a trivial case is something done by someone I support; a serious case is something done by someone I dislike.

    [2] When it was said that the idiot child who sent the snarky tweet to Daley had previously ‘made death threats’, the internet was full of comments saying he should be given a good kicking or taken out and shot or whatever. Made without any sense of irony at at all.

    [3] And don’t even try to pretend that similar things could never happen in Scotland (though there are a few more safeguards). It happens everywhere – both regarding who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t.

  3. hmmm

    So cutting off a court imposed tag and lying about who was driving a car when speeding are things everybody does?

    Sorry, don’t agree. I think the second crime is worse than the first, but only because the cutting off the tag seems like a crime of stupidity. The second was one where he thought he would never get found out.

    Assuming of course he is guilty.

  4. NickP

    Well Eric Joyce is guilty according to the BBC piece. Of course he’s stupid as well. Though at least it disproves that thing about an electronic tag being a fashionable accessory – maybe now MPs have them, no one wants them any more.

    (Incidentally he was “in breach of a community order imposed after a bar brawl at Westminster”. But “appeared at Stirling Sheriff Court”. I hadn’t realised that these things could cross jurisdictions like that).

    I didn’t say that I approved of any of these actions or that they should be legal, just that they are of the type that an awful lot of people don’t take particularly seriously.

  5. @SoCal

    “Free well-woman visits (whatever that means)…”

    Americans like to have a poke around down there every year, just to make sure everything’s fine:

    h ttp://www.utmedicalcenter.org/center-for-women-childrens-health/medical-services/gynecology/the-well-woman-exam/

    We don’t have that. We (I say “we,” for me that joy’s yet to come) just have three yearly cervical smears. I suspect it has to do with the fact that the primary care provider here is a GP while for American women, it’s usually a Gynaecologist.


    “an awful lot of people”.

    I’ve always admired your accurate use of language. What a wonderful description that is of many politicians! :-)

  7. Hannah

    What a wonderful double entendre! :-) ‘-)

  8. Roger Mexico
    Agreed. If a building contractor does not fence a site effectively they can be prosecuted for harm to intruders. Westminster’s rules and monitoring of expenses has clearly not been fit for purpose for many years; it is shameful that so many good constituency MPs should be prosecuted in law and lost or broken for contravention of what are primarily a corporate responsibility of the HoC.

  9. The Telegraph reports in passing a ComRes poll which I don’t remember seeing here:
    Labour 42%
    Conservative 33%
    Liberal Democrats 11%

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