More Miliband polling

The cause of today’s polling excitement are MORI’s questions asking respondents to compare Ed Miliband and David Cameron, results here. Briefly put, David Cameron enjoyed leads over Ed Miliband on most measures, often by a long way. He led on being eloquent by 59% to 15%, on being Prime Ministerial by 57% to 17%, on being tough enough for the job by 54% to 18%, on being smart enough for the job by 54% to 22%, represents Britain by 46% to 26%, on being fun to meet in person by 34% to 21%, likable by 38% to 29% and a good person by 35% to 30%.

Miliband lead on understanding people like me, by 36% to 26%, and protecting British jobs, by 37% to 31%. The two men were pretty much neck and neck on having the right values.

The fact that people think David Cameron is better suited to the job of Prime Minister than Ed Miliband is not particularly new. Cameron has a consistent lead on best Prime Minister, as we saw in July on PM preference Miliband trails a long way behind Labour’s position in VI. There was a Populus poll earlier this week showing even a majority of people who thought David Cameron was doing a bad job as PM would still rather have him in the role than Ed Miliband. All this new poll helps us to understand is some of the reasons why… and again, the picture is in line with other polling about Cameron and Miliband’s respective strengths and weaknesses. Ed is better on understanding ordinary people, but trails badly on being Prime Ministerial or being strong.

What does it actually mean though? As I wrote in July, people’s answers to this are very much coloured by what they would like to be true. I see an awful lot of Labour supporters trying to convince themselves that how voters see the leader is an irrelevance, and an awful lot of Conservative supporters trying to convince themselves that it is impossible for people to actually vote for Ed Miliband and he will be a fatal block to Labour’s chances. As ever, I expect both ends of the spectrum are wrong in their own ways.

Unfortunately, the evidence on which one is closer to the truth is not cut and dried. The last three British Election Studies (the major academic study of why people vote at British general elections, based on extensive parallel face-to-face and online polling and key driver analysis of the data) have consistently shown that voters’ opinions of the party leaders is a significant factor in deciding how they vote. It certainly convinces me, and I would have thought it almost a statement of the bleeding bloody obvious that perceptions of the party leader colour people’s perceptions of the whole party and, therefore, influences votes. However, it would be wrong to say that all academics agree on this – it is a controversial subject and some argue the opposite.

What causes me more pause for thought is the fact that opinions of party leaders are, as it were, already factored into the price. People don’t rate Ed Miliband highly as a potential Prime Minister… and yet they are telling us they would vote Labour. Clearly it can’t be putting them off that much. The question here – and again, it is one to which there is no good answer, is whether the issue will become more important as we get closer to a general election. It is a reasonable hypothesis that people answering opinion polls mid-term (and voting in mid-term elections) are largely registering a protest against the incumbent government, whereas once we approach an actual general election it becomes more of a comparison between two alternative governments, parties and Prime Ministers. If that were the case, Ed Miliband’s ratings now wouldn’t necessarily matter much, but could become increasingly important as the election approached.

I don’t particularly expect to cause many pauses for thought here, I’ve read enough comments to know it is one of those issues where people believe what they would like to be true. I shall leave, therefore, with the historical example that is nearly always cited in discussions like this.

In any conversation about this issue, the topic of Margaret Thatcher is brought up. Mrs Thatcher wasn’t particularly popular as Leader of the Opposition, while Jim Callaghan was comfortable and avuncular and likeable. He pretty consistently outpolled Margaret Thatcher on who would make the best Prime Minister. It certainly shows that people can and have voted for the less popular “Prime Ministerial candidate”. It does not follow, however, that it doesn’t matter. How much better would the Conservatives have done with a more popular leader than Thatcher in 1979? How much worse would Labour have done with a less popular candidate than Callaghan? We can’t tell.


157 Responses to “More Miliband polling”

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  1. A seemingly unchangeable inability to convince the people that count i.e. not those ‘who got out party back’ but the general public.

    You have to worry about this if you are in the Shadow cabinet.

    There are only really two explanations- he is either Maggie or he is Neil.

    Anyone who says that a general election is not in large part a personality contest between the leaders is just standing with their eyes shut, their hands in front of them in a room with the light off and a bag over their heads.

    We’re still odds on for a hung parliament next time around. After today’s cringe making Clegg-apology Labour probably won’t be dealing with him after it!

  2. Sorry, am I meant to vote for a president or a set of beliefs / polices? Cameron may well be a more assured person / politician but it does not mean I like what he thinks.

  3. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100181806/labour-can-carry-on-telling-themselves-this-is-the-centre-lefts-moment-heres-why-its-not/

    “The country is moving towards Ed Miliband…This is the belief, indeed the self-belief, that underpins, their strategy. The political centre is drifting leftwards; people are again going with the progressive grain, etc…The unions, the Lib Dem refugees, the Iraq war refusenkis, the twenty-something activist. They long to be told the pendulum of public opinion is swinging back in their favour…Sooner or later Ed Miliband is going to have to make a choice between messages that reach out to the electorate and messages that reach out to his activists. My suspicion is taht it’s a choice he will avoid for some time yet.”

    Policies desperately required.

  4. Does actually being Prime Minister offer any kind of advantage in appearing Prime Ministerial?

  5. Not sure whether it was Ipsos MORI or the Evening Standard’s idea, but to put ‘A man of faith’ in the list of attributes is quite ridiculous.

    Firstly, it makes the assumption that it is a positive quality (many, including me, would disagree). Secondly, it ignores the fact that Ed Miliband has already stated he is an atheist (unless I am mistaken). Thirdly, it makes no sense at all as a research question. The question asks ‘In your opinion, which party leader, David Cameron or Ed Miliband, is stronger on each of the following?’ So the phrase ‘A man of faith’ doesn’t make any sense in that context (and Ipsos should have at least have advised their client of this).

  6. JACK

    “Sorry, am I meant to vote for a president or a set of beliefs / polices?”

    You can decide for yourself which matters to you. Unfortunately, politicians and media have entered a comfortable coalition to make leader personality the main issue.

    That most voters seem to have gone along with that does suggest that the presidential view is more prevalent.

  7. @Anthony

    “If that were the case, Ed Miliband’s ratings now wouldn’t necessarily matter much, but could become increasingly important as the election approached.”

    But that’s the big “if”, isn’t it.? The supposition is that the relative positions of Cameron and Miliband vis-a-vis each other will remain as they are now right up to May 2015. There’s a deal and a half of political water to flow under the bridge before then and, if you look at Cameron’s stand-alone ratings in the poll, not those in these rather iffish MORI and Populus comparator questions with Miliband, they’re pretty ruddy awful for an incumbent PM. We’re not in the company of greatness here at all, and I don’t think it would take much for Miliband to turn things around, I really don’t.

    By the way, am I the only one who thinks it’s somewhat bizarre that just when Labour have opened up their biggest poll leads in this Parliament, we’re talking about what a liability and disaster Miliband is as a leader?

    It was ever thus. lol

  8. Don’t judge a book by its cover !!!!!!

    People are making a judgment on Ed, purely by the way he looks and their perception of him.

    Remember when Nick Clegg was the most popular leader about 3 weeks before the 2010 GE !

  9. Also, lets not forget, Cameron didn’t win a majority against Gordon Brown, despite being the more popular leader, and leading a party that we ahead in the polls. And despite Labour being in a third term government, and deeply unpopular, both as a party and with an unpopular leader.

    Personally, as a Labour member and someone who voted for Ed Miliband, I am very happy with the job he is doing as leader, and think that he can probably pull up his own ratings closure to the election, as he gets more coverage.

  10. Tessa Jowell commented on Woman’s Hour (Monday) about how Ed has grown immeasurably since becoming leader. The ‘jump under a bus for Tony’ Blairite spent some time with Ed wandering around the Olympic Park (she was the one who persuaded the cabinet to bid for 2012). “You have to get this lot out” is what people were telling her when they asked for a photo with Ed. Seemingly he did not go for the high profile arena appearances, perhaps he is guards his popularity shelf-life too jealously.

    The fact remains that when he was elected leader a small coterie of influential Labour figures expected great things of Ed Miliband, and were confident that the public would see his qualities given time. He still has a way to go to inspire confidence in the wider electorate

    He will be 45 in 2015. Older than Cameron and Clegg were when they became PM and deputy PM. He will still be a couple of years younger than Cameron and a couple of weeks younger than Clegg come the election though, and he looks a lot younger.

    “Boys!” That is how what’s his name (google Chelsea shirt Conservative, ah yes) David Mellor decribed Clegg and Cameron over the weekend. “Not ready for government” is how Gordon Brown described them during the debates.

    This latest rash of polling questions comes at a time when the reality of Labour’s polling lead is beginning to sink in, and the commentariat are waking up to the idea of Ed Miliband as a potential PM… the same sort of realisation is dawning on senior civil servants in government deparments. Opinion formers and movers-and-shakers are ready to take him seriously, he will have to show himself able to step up to the mark.

  11. R HUCKLE

    “People are making a judgment on Ed, purely by the way he looks and their perception of him.”

    How else do people generally make judgements about others that they don’t know personally?

    If “floating voters” (I love the old terminology) don’t see much difference between the policies of the main parties, then what else are they to do?

  12. But do members of the general public know EM , if not how relevant are the answers. It is like asking which actress I prefer Angelina Jolie or someone I have never heard off.

    Maybe they should have asked if the person knows who EM is before they asked the persons opinion of him.

    Remember 2010 when Clegg appeared as if from nowhere in the debates. And he had been Liberal leader for years.

  13. @ Oldnat

    So how would you suggest that political parties choose their leaders. Hold a beauty type contest, where they have 5 minutes to explain how they would like to change the world ? Perhaps have a range of costumes they have to wear. A lounge suit, followed by a tux/ballgown and finally a pair of speedos or bikini. As you never know they might appear in pictures in the media and you don’t want someone who people take the mickey out of.

    Have we really become obsessed with a persons looks and they way they talk, not what they say or stand for. Some of the best PM’s this country have had, would never have become PM, if they were judged by todays fickle electorate.

  14. R HUCKLE

    I don’t approve of what the political parties and the media decided to do in portraying politics as a personality game show.

    But having done that, the parties shouldn’t whine about the inevitable consequences.

    Personally, I vote for a party led by a wee, stout, balding guy – as do lots of others.

  15. Are UKPR folk aware of what someone told me as a young Labour activist more than 30 years ago – “don’t be too much cleverer than the rest” ?
    Politicians with first rate abilities – irrespective of their party allegiance – are almost invariably regarded as slightly mad, or weird, or boring. Churchill (not that popular in peacetime) Thatcher, Brown, now Ed M . When you meet or see him in the flesh, Ed is actually very likeable and most discerning people of whatever politics would instantly see that he has a very high grasp of astonishingly complex issues- as I recognised in Thatcher. Indeed they had to use their abilities to transcend the Rule above and rise to the top of their Parties.
    How anyone could put Ed and Neil K in a similar category defies belief. LOL thank goodness.

  16. Hannah asked (presumably somewhat tongue in cheek) “Does actually being Prime Minister offer any kind of advantage in appearing Prime Ministerial?”. It’s actually even worse than that. If you look at the tables:

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/ipsos-mori-political-monitor-september-2012-tables.pdf

    you’ll see the wording is In your opinion, which party leader, David Cameron or Ed Miliband is stronger on each of the following? – Prime Ministerial

    So the implication is that the PM is better at being PM than someone who isn’t. Who’d a thunk it.

    It’s more interesting to look at is the usual questions on the leaders:

    Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way David Cameron is doing his job as Prime Minister? 34% v 58% = -24

    Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Ed Miliband is doing his job as leader of the Labour Party? 38% v 47% = -9

    Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Nick Clegg is doing his job as Deputy Prime Minister? 23% v 66% = -43

    So on the usual grounds Ed is well “ahead” in the least unpopular contest.

    Even more revealing when you look at those “absolutely certain” to vote, the scores are -24, -3, -44 Remember this is a filter that normally helps the Conservatives, but here it looks as if greater familiarity (as those who are voters are more likely to know more about politics) actually helps Miliband.

  17. @Welsh Borderer

    What you said about Churchill (possibly true of Thatcher too) is that until they got into power, they didn’t look too impressive, then suddenly the right circumstances appeared (seemingly out of the blue), that happened to fit their particular styles and intentions like the proverbial glove, and from then on, they became successful PMs.

  18. Ed may not be known to the general public but some of his Shadow Cabinet are unknown to the Labour Party.

  19. “The last three British Election Studies (the major academic study of why people vote at British general elections, based on extensive parallel face-to-face and online polling and key driver analysis of the data) have consistently shown that voters’ opinions of the party leaders is a significant factor in deciding how they vote”
    ____________

    I’ve said this till I’m blue in the face and just the other night I wrote that Labour’s 15% lead in the polls will evaporate when the public realise Ed could become PM.

    Sorry Ed you have the personality of a Grommet!!

  20. @ R Huckle (from the previous thread)

    “Please USA, don’t elect that imbecile ( Romney ) as President. As Brits would say, he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

    It would be a disaster in regard to foreign policy, as I am not sure Romney understands the various issues enough to make comment. What you don’t want is any head of state who thinks for themself. They should be guided by what their experts say and be able to keep to their brief.”

    Yeah, I don’t blame any of you for being scared because this decision will likely affect you. Romney is as bad as Dubya on foreign policy (maybe even worse because Dubya at least had some social skills…some).

    I thought that giving advice to the Iranians on how to commit terrorist attacks against the United States was perhaps the craziest thing (also revealed that he doesn’t know what a dirty domb is). But what he said about Israel and Palestine is also disturbing. Not just because it demonstrates he’s a liar (we already knew that) but because it demonstrates that he will make absolutely no effort to resolve that situation. Now the current President might not get a peace deal in a second term but at least he’ll try and make an effort. And it will ultimately take U.S. intervention (and babysitting) to accomplish peace. How much more must Palestinians and Israelis suffer for another 4 years under Romney who simply has said there will never be peace and he’s not even going to try. Isn’t the mark of a strong leader (which Romney pretends he is and pretends Obama is not) one who tackles the seemingly intractible problems?

    I respectfully disagree with you on your final point though. I think a leader has to be someone who is able to think for themselves. How much knowledge or experience in an arena a leader possesses is irrelevant. What matters is that that leader is able to ask the right questions, glean the right information, and make a decision. Hopefully one that is well informed and smart.

    You know what people told me in 2000 on why Dubya would be okay in office? Because he’d have good advisors who could tell him what to do. Even as a young teenager, I knew that was wrong. I asked, “well what if the advisors don’t all agree?” I never got an answer. Obama’s advisors all split on whether to send in Seal Team 6 into Abbottabad (including his Defense Secretary and his Vice President). Yet Obama was able to make a decision. That’s what matters.

    “One of the UK news programmes looked at the 47% of people living off the state who pay no income tax that Romney mentioned. Apparently 25% of this figure represented people receiving pension credits (?) and some could well be Republican voters. I can’t remember exacly how they broke down the 47%, but basically there was no evidence these people were more likely to vote Democrat.”

    I’m not surprised by that analysis at all because it’s well known by most of us who know anything about the federal budget and taxation. I am no expert by any means and I know VERY little. But Romney’s analysis is just this bitter, angry vitriol that doesn’t match up to reality. For example, seniors don’t pay income tax. And seniors are the only age group where Romney has done well. A lot of the teabaggers were unaware that they received governmental assistance.

    @ Billy Bob (from the previous thread)

    “Thanks for posting the link to polling for the 36th Congressional district California. Raul Ruiz has a decent favourability score, low unfavourability and higher don’t knows. I think I heard that he is getting some decent campaign funds, which in a close contest would make a difference. I’m guessing a big factor will likely be (as in other parts of the country, Texas included) the level of Hispanic voter registration.

    Btw listening to Mitt Romney ramble on for over an hour will take some stamina, I might give it a go later.

    The Guardian has a datablog on the percentages by state of the type of people Romney was taking about (or down)… turns out they are more likely to live in nailed down Romney states like Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and less likely to live in Obama strongholds like Maryland and Massachusetts. Who they vote for, or whether they vote, is a whole other question.”

    I’m going to give it a try later myself (got too much work to do). Ruiz has a shot, especially with a big Obama landslide in California. My only worry is that if a poll comes out like this now, the NRCC and Bono campaign might start slamming him. The best way to go is to come up last minute and lull the incumbent.

    There was list last year of the top 10 states in the union with the most millionaires. The states were (though not in this order):

    1. California
    2. New Hampshire
    3. Massachusetts
    4. Virginia
    5. District of Columbia (counted as a state)
    6. Maryland
    7. Hawaii
    8. Connecticut
    9. New Jersey
    10. Alaska

    Note that 9 out of the 10 went for Obama. 7 were safe states for Obama and went for him strongly. 2 were swing states that Obama won by commanding margins (Virginia and New Hampshire). And only one voted Republican and it helped that their governor was on the GOP ticket.

  21. OLDNAT

    “Personally, I vote for a party led by a wee, stout, balding guy – as do lots of others”
    ________

    Patrick Harvie? ;)

  22. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    :-)

    No one could accuse Scottish parties (and assuming that Lamont wins the current internecine battle in SLab between Hpolyrood and Westminster, I’ll include them in that description) of choosing their leaders on the basis of how they might look and sound to “Middle Scotland”, much less “Middle England”)!

  23. @ Billy Bob and R Huckle

    Responded to you guys but my post went into moderation.

    Now I haven’t watched the full video but I just realized something about Romney today and it’s made me finally realize why there is no love between him and any of the Tory leaders who you would think would be natural allies.

    Romney has a disdain for those who are wealthy who aren’t in business and generally derive their wealth through inheritance. It’s not as strong as his disdain for the poor for those in the middle class who don’t pay income taxes. But it’s there. And it really includes those who would be comfortable with their wealth and seek an active role in public life in order to improve society. Romney tends to look down on those people (even as he needs money from some of them). There’s an attitude out there possessed by some that says “I’ve got plenty of money, I’ve got no real need to worry as long as I have financial men properly managing it for me. I’ve got no interest in going out and making more. I think, with my wealth and my comfort, I could go out and really better society.”

    I may be mistaken but when you look at your current extremely wealthy Tory leaders (David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, George Osbourne), they’re generally wealthy through inheritance and aren’t exactly self-made. They’re in politics because it’s for their country.

    Yesterday, MSNBC anchor/commentator Chris Matthews accused Mitt Romney of “talking like a Tory.” But actually, the more I think about it, the wealthy Tories who are in office are actually more similar to a lot of the wealthy Democrats who go into public life. Most notable would be Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy who spent their lives working in public service and had no need to go out and make millions and billions (they already had it). Gavin Newsom might be a more current example (though not a perfect match because I’m not sure his family is all that wealthy and he did have his own specialty food and wine stores for a while).

    Anyway, food for thought.

  24. @ Old Nat

    “Personally, I vote for a party led by a wee, stout, balding guy – as do lots of others.”

    Would you consider Salmond to be a wee guy?

    Nothing wrong with a wee, stout, balding guy in politics as Henry Waxman proves.

  25. OLDNAT

    I’m just trying to figure out what middle Scotland might look and sound like.. :)

    No no Scottish parties don’t go in for this daft vanity stuff, much too mature but Alex Salmond for First Minister did strike a cord as to Iain Grey for First Minister…It’s what you call the middle bombshell.

  26. @Allan Christie:

    “Sorry Ed you have the personality of a Grommet!!”

    What, serious, loyal, good in a crisis? ;-)

  27. @ Anthony Wells

    I have a question for you. I know voter registration in the UK is different as British voters don’t register to vote by political party. But I was curious to know if you or any other British pollsters ever conduct polls of “likely voters” as elections near instead of or in addition to polls of simply registered voters. If so, has there ever been a wide gulf between polling results of likely voter polls versus registered voter polls? And if so, which proved to be more accurate?

  28. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Since the geographic “middle” of Scotland is a deserted hillside near Loch Garry, we probably shouldn’t bother about it! :-)

  29. FPT, Re: Cleggpology.

    I have no idea how he could have thought this was a good idea or how his advisers could have allowed him to do it. All he has achieved is to remind everyone of the original crime, and to do so in the most patronising, insincere manner possible, and provide the opportunity for all the news programmes to broadcast his equally insincere pre-election broadcasts, done in exactly the same tone of voice. I could barely watch it. Is there anyone out there who was impressed by this or has he just broadcasted his own preposterousness to the widest possible audience. Still, at least we’ll see if the Lib Dem VI has truly bottomed out or whether it has further yet to fall.

  30. HANNAH
    @Allan Christie:

    “Sorry Ed you have the personality of a Grommet!!”

    What, serious, loyal, good in a crisis.
    ___

    Hmm I must have my Ed’s mixed up.. ;)

  31. OLDNAT

    LOL, well if wild goats could vote!!

  32. SoCalLiberal

    I was looking at this Pew Research article

    http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/19/obama-ahead-with-stronger-support-better-image-and-lead-on-most-issues/

    Very positive for Obama, and seems to reinforce much of what you have been saying – but how good is Pew Research?

  33. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    I refuse to respond to such a slur upon Ian Davidson MP! :-)

  34. Anthony

    Any idea why my 11:33 post is in moderation? Not the link surely?

  35. OLDNAT

    Ah Ian Davidson MP such a pillar of the community. Word has it he’s to become president for Women’s Shelter. ;)

  36. HANNAH

    I think it’s what we call “political suicide” The Lib/Dems are good at it.

  37. @SoCalLib

    Somebody else has already made a similar point

    Regards, Martyn

  38. @ Old Nat

    Btw, a new Field Poll (they have traditionally been the Gold Standard of CA polls) out today of California shows the President maintaining a 24% lead (which was his victorious margin in 2008). It confirms the SUSA poll I showed you with this poll showing an astounding 14% of Republican voters voting for the President.

    Interesting side note, Romney leads this category 78%-14%. It is the only subgroup of voters he leads. More importantly, among these voters, 20% have a favorable opinion of the President, 78% have an unfavorable view. Reinforces the point you made. No direct link but here’s the PDF (just click on ‘Field’).

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/ca/california_romney_vs_obama-2009.html

  39. SOCALLIBERAL

    Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff.

    Which states do you reckon are now marginal between Obama/Romney?

    I see Ramussen has them as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. However, other polls seem to show Obama ahead in states like Virginia.

  40. @ Rob Sheffield

    I cannot believe you are posting links to Dan Hodges to support your comments. You make good points; why undermine them by bringing desperate Dan into it? :evil:

  41. I don’t particularly expect to cause many pauses for thought here, I’ve read enough comments to know it is one of those issues where people believe what they would like to be true.
    ————————————
    But we don’t have to just believe what want; we’ve had polls where the leaders are named & even one or two where Johnson was thrown into the mix.

    With Cameron, Miliband & Clegg named, it maxed at about a 3-4 point swing (gap reduced by 6-8) to the Tories, did it not?

    Throwing Boris into the mix brought it close to level pegging, unless I’ve mis-remembered.

    So no need, IMO, to hark back to the days of Thatcher. Current polling gives us a much better clue to the effect of people thinking about which Party, they’d vote for when prompted to think about it from the perspective of who would be leading the country.

    It’s a pity that MORI didn’t ask the VI question again, prompting by party + leader, after they’d done the ‘qualities’ questions. That might have given us a really good indication of the effect it might have on VI.
    8-)

  42. @ Old Nat

    “I was looking at this Pew Research article

    http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/19/obama-ahead-with-stronger-support-better-image-and-lead-on-most-issues/

    Very positive for Obama, and seems to reinforce much of what you have been saying – but how good is Pew Research?”

    I saw that too. Seeing that poll today left me feeling buoyant. Pew Research is a very good poll. I think (but I cannot remember for sure at the moment) that they were the closest to accurately predicting the 2008 results (I think they were off a point in favor of McCain).

    @ Martyn

    “Somebody else has already made a similar point”

    Obama is not a Tory.

  43. @ Old Nat

    “Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff.

    Which states do you reckon are now marginal between Obama/Romney?

    I see Ramussen has them as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. However, other polls seem to show Obama ahead in states like Virginia.”

    Whatever you do, don’t rely on Rasmussen. They’re terrible. They’re a Republican pollster that is deliberately biased and throws out intentionally misleading poll numbers (some of us speculate that on occassion the numbers are completely off). They do this in order to create a media narrative, to influence where money gets spent and raised in races, and to influence various political decisionmakers.

    I mean, imagine that David Cameron and Jim Murphy get together to create a polling firm just for the sake of the Scottish referendum. Take their polling results with appropriate grain of salt. Just sayin.’

  44. @ Old Nat

    The answer to your question is actually more complicated than it seems so I’ll give you both a short answer and a long answer. Short answer first.

    States that are in play as of today….if the election were held today (and people will likely disagree with me): Missouri, Montana, Indiana, Georgia, Arizona, and possibly South Carolina.

    North Carolina will be close but will go to the President.

    Of the other states you’ve mentioned, the President has solid and growing leads in all.

  45. Okies, on the Ed vs Cam debate.

    1) If a floater finds themselves struggling to choose between Tories and Labour on policy terms, then sure they might decide to go with the guy they like more or whatever. But as we have seen with Clegg, people value policies rather more. Someone about to lose their job because of the cuts is perhaps less likely to go, “what the hell, I’ll vote for cammers anyway, he seems OK…”

    As time goes by, given the scope of the austerity-ness-of-it-all, plus the end of “we’re all in this together”, more and more people are going to have visceral reasons, if not for themselves then for someone they care about, to put policy ahead of personality, and not necessarily in a good way for the coalition. Baby-boomers are protected, of course, but that’s mostly core vote stuff.

    2) Cammers has managed to distance himself from the opprobrium accorded to coalition policies, which is a nice trick to pull off, for himself personally. It’s not necessarily a panacea for his party though.

    The LDs are copping a lot of the flack, it’s true, but sadly for the Tories, so are the likes of Osborne. When it comes to the election, people may well think Cammers is OK, but they are also apt, given his polling, to go “But sweet Jesus, look who’s in charge of the economy”.

    Or to put it another way, people may have thought well of Callaghan, but they didn’t forget Healey coming back from the IMF. They liked Major, but they remembered a ruffled Lamont going “Today has been a very difficult, turbulent (end of my career and party’s fortunes for the next decade and more)”… They didn’t forget Brown’s claim to end to boom and bust, and they won’t forget the osboshambles either, which wasn’t a single event but the gift that kept on giving. My contention is these things eclipse whether or not they are positive about a PM. And I think there may be something in it on account of the fact that they didn’t get re-elected, regardless of a PM’s popularity. Wilson was well regarded, and then came the devaluation…

    3) If that isn’t enough, we also have the problem, that much of the Labour upswing has not come from the Tories, whose polling has only dipped a bit in comparison with the election. Most of the Labour gains, as we know, have come courtesy the Lib Dems. (See where I’m going with this?)

    Not that I “want it to be true” or anything, though if true it would have the merit of being a bit ironic and amusing, but surely what matters more to Labour is making sure they don’t lose their gains from the Lib Dems. For the greater part, Ed isn’t competing with Cameron at all. He doesn’t have to look better than the Tory leader, he only has to look better than the guy who he’s really competing with, which is… Cleggo!! And let’s face it, that’s like taking candy off a baby right now. Maybe if Clegg was up against Osborne, now that would be something to get our teeth into.

    Of course, all this relates to how things stand right now. Things could change… I mean, OMG!! Clegg apologised!! (Maybe Cammers made him do it…) and conference is round the corner, let’s see…

  46. YouGov:
    Con 33, Lab 45, Lib 10
    Approval -34
    Who would make the best PM?
    Cameron – 33%
    Miliband – 25%
    Clegg – 5%

    Which options would be best for Britain? (with DKs removed, may not add to 100%)
    Majority Conservative: 39.9%
    Con/Lib coalition: 8.3%
    Lab/Lib coalition: 14.3%
    Majority Labour: 40.5%
    Con government: 45.2%
    Lab government: 54.8%
    Not really much change, but what I do find interesting about the reporting of this question is that people always shout about the Con vs Lab question and point out that they’re neck and neck and always leave out the lib-coalitions.
    They also seem to always compare directly to VI, without first removing the DKs.

    So I’ve seen ‘Labour on 34% for best government, that must be closer to their real VI!’.

    As a side note – it’d be interesting if this question (or VI generally) were asked as a series of binary questions –
    So Lab vs Con, Con vs Lib, Lib vs Lab, UKIP vs Lab, etc

    Since the question of the thread is how much Ed will hurt VI when ‘people realise he’s in charge’, don’t we have an answer to that, when YouGov ask the question with prompting for Ed?
    Where it seems to knock 2-4% off the VI – so not the drastic fall (knocking 7-9% off) that the Ed sceptics argue WILL happen?

  47. Talking of leaders – it’ll be interesting to see if Clegg’s apology video is able to turn things around.
    He’s currently at Gordon Brown levels of approval with YouGov and Thatcher/Brown levels of satisfaction with Ipsos Mori.

    If the apology ends up making him less popular, I don’t think he’ll last long – so it must be fingers crossed in the Clegg house.

  48. I don’t think there’s any evidence at all that the anti-Tory vote will switch to Con because they think Cam does better than Ed.

    It’s an anti-Tory vote. We’ve seen polling that a huge chunk of the electorate will NEVER vote Tory.

    People like me. And most of them will vote Labour next time…and even if they don’t they won’t vote Tory.

    There’s no way out of the straitjacket for Houdini this time.

  49. Looking at the best PM voting…nearly all the Tories rate Cam highest. Only a quarter of current LD voters think Ed wuld be best PM (more than 40% think it would be Clegg). The telling one is that only 60% of Lab intended voters think that Ed would make best PM, with 34% saying don’t know.

    The whole Tory strategy seems to be aimed at persuading those 34% who intend to vote Lab that they should vote for Con because Cam is more sexy than Ed. But none of them said that Cam would be make best PM…they said they didn’t know.

    No…sorry. The only chance the Tories have rests upon the economy. Manufacture some sort of recovery and they’ve got a real chance…might even deserve to win, if their strategy turns out to be successful.

    But time is running out, and even they don’t think it’s going to happen. They may commit hari kari first.

    It’s possible all this Cam v Ed stuff is really to protect Cam from Boris, rather than defeat Ed.

  50. @ Tinged Fringe

    “Talking of leaders – it’ll be interesting to see if Clegg’s apology video is able to turn things around.
    He’s currently at Gordon Brown levels of approval with YouGov and Thatcher/Brown levels of satisfaction with Ipsos Mori.

    If the apology ends up making him less popular, I don’t think he’ll last long – so it must be fingers crossed in the Clegg house.”

    This tells you how out of touch I’ve gotten with this but what is Clegg apologizing for?

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