The Times this morning has some intriguing YouGov results on Ed Miliband. Taking the simplest bit first, Yougov asked if people thought Ed Miliband was a better or worse leader than Gordon Brown, and a better or worse leader than Tony Blair. Miliband was seen as better than Brown by 32% to 17%, and worse than Blair by 41% to 20%.

All straightforward so far. However, YouGov also repeated a bank of questions asking about Ed Miliband’s qualities that had previously been asked about Gordon Brown in May 2010, immediately after the general election. Miliband got higher don’t knows than Brown for obvious reasons, but looking at net figures Miliband had better ratings than Brown on being in touch and being honest, but worse (in some cases MUCH worse) on being a strong leader, on being decisive, on having a sense of purpose, on caring about ordinary people and on trying to do the right thing. So people think Ed Miliband is a better leader… but also give him worse ratings than they gave Brown?

It’s interesting to ponder the apparent contradiction – there are several possible explanations. One is that the Gordon Brown polling was done right at the very end of his premiership, and his personal ratings increased during 2010 so these figures are how Brown was seen at a comparatively positive point, not Brown when his ratings were at their worst. It’s possible that the “folk memory” of Gordon Brown that people are comparing Miliband to is Brown at his lowest point, or an image of Brown that is actually much worse than the reality at the time.

There is also a question of people’s changing perceptions towards an incumbent party leader – in many ways the “right” answer for a Labour supporter in May 2010 was to give Brown a positive rating, while the “right” answer now is for them to say Miliband is an even better leader. That’s not to say people are somehow not giving their genuine opinions – I am sure they are. It’s just, if you are a Labour supporter you are going to see the party’s leader in a positive light, overlook his weaknesses, notice his strengths. Labour supporters in May 2010 would have seen Gordon Brown in a positive light, now Ed Miliband is leader they’ll note his strengths and perhaps take a more neutral view of Brown. In just the same way Conservative supporters in 2002 told pollsters that Iain Duncan Smith was a good leader… and I’m sure if asked today would recognise that, when all is said and done, he was a bit of a duffer as leader.

While we are here, we should stop to look at the figures in their own right, whatever people thought about Gordon Brown, they are also a chance to see how people see Ed Miliband as a politician in his own right. Looking at them that way, Ed Miliband’s most positive rating by far is on honesty – 39% think he is honest, compared to only 24% dishonest. His ratings are also comparably good on “trying to do the right thing” (39% v 41% serving his own interests) and caring about ordinary people (36% v 42% caring about only a select few). He scores much more negatively on being dithering (57% v 19% who think he is decisive), weak (56% v 19% who see him as strong) and being unclear what he stands for (53% v 27% who think he has a clear sense of purpose).

I’ll end up with by my normal summary about the Ed Miliband question, since it’s always a subject that provokes a lot of discussion and some very entrenched views – I invariably see Labour supporters wedded to the idea that Miliband’s ratings will be irrelevant come the election, and Conservative supporters convinced that it would be impossible for Labour to win under Miliband.

Suffice to say, Miliband’s ratings are bad, and are bad compared to past opposition leaders. It seems likely that he is having a negative effect on Labour support. HOWEVER, Labour are ahead in the polls, and have a lead that would give them a comfortable overall majority at an election, so the idea that they cannot win with Ed Miliband is clearly false. Right now, people are telling pollsters that they will vote Labour regardless of Ed Miliband’s negative ratings. The question is whether or not those negative opinions of Miliband (assuming they don’t change) will play more of a role in influencing people’s voting intention as the general election gets closer and voting intention becomes more of a choice between alternate government as an anti-government statement. Current polling cannot answer that question – and the key to interpreting polls is often as much about recognising what they can’t tell you as what they can.


317 Responses to “YouGov/Times poll on Ed Miliband”

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  1. I expect the debates not to happen. Cameron is afraid of Miliband and Farage being seen head-to-head with him in a public arena and Clegg is doomed because nobody will believe a word he says.

    Best case scenario for Labour is for them to push really hard for a debate, get one and humiliate both Farage and Cameron.

    Best case for the Tories is Labour chicken out because they’re afraid Miliband will have a Kinnock moment and embarrass himself.

    Best case for UKIP is actually to not be included. They’d get lots of attention from the media furore over exclusion of the third-placed party while not actually having to get up and defend their policies.

    Best case for the Lib Dems is that Clegg can hold himself together, but basically keep quiet and knock a few lumps out of the other three now and then. If the debates aren’t held they can slink around and hope nobody notices them, as they’ve done for the last two years.

  2. Decades ago I was a member of an intrumental teaching team and we all applied for “head of dept”.

    Most of us almost fainted at their choice of a woman who seemed totally wrong for the job [not because of gender but all the important attributes that were required]
    . However, despite my always feeling she was the wrong choice as it should clearly have been me, within days she “looked” like head of dept.

    The fact is louder than opinion: if Ed becomes PM he will look prime ministerial, the rest, to quote Anthony, is just bollocks.

  3. @RodCrosby

    Dude! Welcome from politicalbetting! There is more rejoicing over one sinner, etc…:-) Anyhoo, the full addy for L&N is http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~mlebo/Lebo%20and%20Norpoth.2012.pdf

    rgdsm

  4. Rod Crosby

    The fact that UKIP are there surely makes it more difficult to get 7% over Labour though doesn’t it (your numbers not mine) and the indications are that they will hit the Tories harder than Labour

    I can see Labour getting at a minimum low 30s% which will mean 40is% minimum for the Tories

    Are you still behind your numbers of 7% or do you admit that it is unlikely, and if that is the case a Labour Government on a minority vote becomes distinctly possible- remind me again who cocked up the boundary change legislation, yes that would be Mr Cameron!

    Love all those on the right now complaining about FPTP – ironic isn’t it

  5. howard

    “The floating floater is what counts ”

    I bow to your knowledge of such things Howie.

  6. The key fact that Anthony has shown here, is that the ratings for EM are bad compared to past opposition leaders, which takes out the argument that the ratings are bad only because you can’t appear prime ministerial if in opposition. There is some worry here for Labour, although as Anthony also correctly states, it’s difficult to know how this will affect the big day!

  7. “@ RICH

    it’s difficult to know how this will affect the big day!”

    The nation need only accept Ed M/Labour as their partner in marriage for 5 years. After the 5 years is up, they can decide if they want a divorce.

    Also with a cabinet form of government, I think it is more important for people to consider the team of people and their parties policies. If we were electing a President, it would be a totally different proposition and I don’t think the current leaders of the parties would be in the running.

  8. @rhuckle,

    Isnt this the problem, we don’t really know what the policies are either from Ed apart from something on payday lenders.

    I expect manifesto drips to start early next year. Will be interesting to see what is in there. I want to know if they are going to go for a VAT cut or not, as I genuinely don’t think we can afford it. Social housing makes sense, I would like to see all parties commit to this.

  9. Rich

    Aye, but DC’s ratings so soon into his Premiership are also horrendous. He’s as unpopular as Thatcher was in Feb 82, which is some achievement.

    EM’s figures must be looked at through this lens. Any assessment that ignores this issue is pointless.

  10. arr lefty just the man, interesting point for you..

    Met a good friend of mine from Uni the other night who was a big lefty at the time back in the day, probably a bit less political these days, but he had a very interesting take on left wing politics these days. He is quite disenchanted with the way in his view that what he says are the classic best traditions of left wing politics, strong debate, intellectuals, Fabian society etc have been replaced in some quarters with an attempt to close down debates with insults and labelling. I thought this was an interesting view. He mentioned the Farage thing in Scotland where he said he would have loved the chance to out debate him in the street rather than the approach they took. Interesting view? Thoughts?

  11. The personality of the leader is low on the list of reasons to vote for any party at the moment and I can’t see that changing this side of a General Election. This plays into EM’s hands. It may well be that DC is replaced by Boris J after the next election this may well alter the dynamic . This poll whilst not welcome for Labour, tells them little that they already know.

  12. The leader in most trub is Samond as he doesn’t even have a gang named after him.

    We have Cleggites, Faragists, Cameroons and Milibandistas but where are his lot?

    Don’t see an independent Scotland with hime as leader.

  13. @Rich

    “The key fact that Anthony has shown here, is that the ratings for EM are bad compared to past opposition leaders, which takes out the argument that the ratings are bad only because you can’t appear prime ministerial if in opposition.”

    This poll compared Ed to two previous Prime Ministers, not Opposition Leaders. I don’t know of any poll that compares him to past opposition leaders, and it would be a problematic question to ask because of combination of “grass is always greener” and nostalgia.

    And it would be entirely incorrect to take anything from a comparison against personality polling conducted against past opposition leaders, due to substantial difference in methodology, and different situations. Is it fair to compare a poll conducted during the 80s by a completely different company using different methodology about Kinnock?

  14. RICH.
    Very interesting, thank you, as I am also a left footer.

    Bournemoouth has a thriving Fabian Society.

    In southern England the term ‘political’ can be an insult, since the people fear intellectual debate.

    On another thread: clemmie Churchill wrote to her husband about his insults of ‘Clem’ and others on the Labour side.

  15. I think these historic cimparisons tell us as much about politics as 100 metre times tell us about whether Jesse Owen, Linford Christie or anyone else was the best athlete.

    Different times and conditions. In athletics they are fitter and so on; in politics the world is way more cynical and judgmental.

  16. BCROMBIE
    “Are you still behind your numbers…”

    Not my numbers, chum. I just thought this respected forecasting model should be added to this thread.

    Make of it what you will…

  17. BCROMBIE

    @”The fact that UKIP are there surely makes it more difficult to get 7% over Labour though doesn’t it (your numbers not mine) and the indications are that they will hit the Tories harder than Labour”

    So far-but is that game concluded yet?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/ukip-gunning-labour-ed-miliband?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Fcommentisfree%2Frss+%28Comment+is+free%29

  18. @JayBlanc

    IpsosMORI have been asking the “ready to be PM” question of opposition leaders for some time.

    Miliband is probably on a par with Hague, marginally better than IDS, and way behind Howard. Though as AW points out, Labour are ahead in the polls currently so Ed’s figures are particularly bad considering.

    Ed doesn’t bear any comparison with Blair or Cameron’s standing when their parties where enjoying a lead:

    h
    ttp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2401&view=wide

  19. I’ll take very short odds that there won’t be a TV debate next time. Unless and until there are two in successive elections there is no true precedent, just one-offs. Till then, they can only happen if everyone agrees, and it’s very easy for a party with more to lose than to gain to find a justifiable excuse (or someone else to blame) for not holding it.

    For very many years one has been mooted every election, and it never happened till 2010. Circumstances then allowed it, namely a government struggling in the polls with nothing to lose, and an opposition leader with a better PR image than the PM, and needing to consolidate his lead. (The minor parties, of course, have nothing to lose and will always agree).

    So, if Ed is afraid of appearing geeky (unlike DC in 2010), or DC is afraid of Garage, it won’t happen.

    For comparison, look at the USA. After 1960 there was not another till 1976. However, once one was held in 1980 as well, the precedent was set.

  20. @Colin – “is that game concluded yet?”

    Would that be part of coordinated 2015 tactics currently being discussed, ahead of the Bow Group/Conservative Grassroots summit meeting with UKIP to explore “a possible Conservative UKIP electoral pact”?

    Field a UKIP candidate in seats where the Tories have no chance and hope Labour supporters haven’t cottoned-on?

  21. Regarding the TV debates, it’s apparent already that Cameron no longer sees any advantage in going head-to-head with Miliband. Hence the virtual absence over the past three months of Wednesday PM questions featuring the two party leaders. So many of these supposedly regular sessions have been lost that it looks like more than a coincidence.

  22. I don’t see why, two years out, that EM needs to worry about personal ratings.

    Keep on the straight and narrow if I were he. He is.

    Lest it should be interpreted that I am being unduly non-partisan, may I offer the thought that in the Debates, NC will actually do well, much to the disgust of opposing partisans. We were supposed to be discussing personal appeal on this thread and i still think the ‘vlooper’ has something to offer the ladies.

  23. Look here, the Tories are more or less at their core vote and LibDems similar with the proviso that their core = Orange Book classic Libs who prefer to liberalise a Tory Government and can’t countenance a Labour Gov’t. Labour voters including those who have returned/transferred from LibDems back Ed in the YG poll decisively on every single question asked except the comparison with Tony Blair and even then it’s 50:50 amongst Labour supporters. It’s a pretty predictable result. Surprised. Tories like Tony Blair. Shock, Horror. Because TB is a bit like a Tory, perhaps ??

    There is still an issue within Labour support that a significant minority are sceptical of Ed. That is on fact the only real issue. Personally I think the sceptics will largely fade from view as Labour rolls out a coherent policy framework based around the right and duty to work, massive investment in public housing, the living wage, no/reduced Trident, a straight referendum on EU membership, capping student fees at £4000, and a genuinely progressive tax changes. I suppose I would say that !

  24. Phil Haines

    I would regard the abandonment of PMQ and its substitution with genuine policy examination type debate as an improvement in our parliament.

    That I hope is non-partisan and supported by all here.

  25. For what its worth my humble opinion is that as the Cons want to win in 2015 so badly they will have some kind of pact with UKIP – plus the economy is bound to be better by the spring of 2015 and Labour can’t just sit there and win by default – they will have to come up with clearly defined policies long before May 2015 as will UKIP.
    I can see a situation that although the Tories dream of a majority government they will end up in some kind of coalition again whether they like it or not. OR let Labour have a go – I don’t think so!

  26. @Howard

    Maybe, or maybe not, but either way that’s not the point. Whether or not it constitutes an improvement in the workings of parliament will be the last thing influencing Cameron’s search for opportunities to avoid a weekly face-to-face debate with MIliband.

  27. @Phil Haines

    As per the Leveson Inquiry:

    “Ed has got me on the run. LOL Dave.”

    Let’s hope that Ed can break through the Westminster bubble and connect with a wider public before the GE.

  28. @Rob Crosby

    Models forecasting future elections based on past elections work best when they’re based on repetitive circumstances such that the past can be relied upon to be a good prediction of the future. From time to time, those models break down. At the moment, the party system seems to be in a state of flux not seen for some 30 years, and as such I’d suggest that those models have much less value.

    In so far as opinion of the party leaders matters at the moment, I suggest that opinions on the LD leader matter the most of all, and are least likely to shift because they embody a much deeper disillusionment with the LDs in general. Unless the LDs find a means to dump him in such a way that their collective culpability in making possible five years of Conservative government is somehow overlooked by their former left leaning supporters, Labour can count on adding the bulk of those to its 2010 core vote. such that the Conservatives will have to retain almost all of their net 2010 support if they are to remain ahead in the popular vote. That still seems to me to represent a very tall order.

  29. I’ve had a look at the L&N paper (http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~mlebo/Lebo%20and%20Norpoth.2012.pdf ) Two points as follows

    Point 1: Where did PMt, PMt-1, PMt-2 come from

    The equation on page 10 boils down to this:

    Votet = (1 ? w1 ? w2)a +w1Votet?1 +w2Votet?2 + bPMt ?w1bPMt?1 ?w2bPMt?2

    where:
    * Votet = vote lead at election t = con lead in 2010 election
    * Votet-1 = vote lead at election t-1 = con lead in 2005 election = -2.9 (table 4, page 13)
    * Votet-2 = vote lead at election t-2 = con lead in 2001 election = -9 (table 4, page 13)
    * w1 = two-party vote total three months prior to election t = 0.771 (where 1 = two-parties have 100% of vote)
    * w2 = (PM approval rating three months prior to election t) – 1 = (0.339-1) = -0.661 (where 0 = PM has 100% approval)
    * a = a constant? = 0.549
    * b = a constant? = 0.624
    * PMt = PM approval at election t = 4.167,
    * PMt-1 = PM approval at election t-1 = -5.680
    * PMt-2 = PM approval at election t-2 = -6.521

    Where did those numbers for PMt (4.167), PMt-1 (-5.680) and PMt-2 (-6.521) come from?

    Point 2: If Votet is on the left side and PMt is on the right, what use is this model?

    The equation on page 10 predicts Votet. Votet is the con vote lead %age in election t. Yay! But on the right-hand-side of the equation we see PMt, which is the PM approval at election t (I think). So you can use this model to predict votet only if you know PMt. So you can predict the vote lead at election t if and only if you know what the PM approval is at election t. But you won’t know PMt until, ooh, the morning of the election. So…this isn’t much use.

    Can somebody else look at this and see if I’ve got something wrong? Amber, Roger Mexico, Statgeek: you have numerate jobs, can you have a look see if I’m being stupid?

    rgdsm

  30. (reposted with dashes done correctly)

    I’ve had a look at the L&N paper (http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~mlebo/Lebo%20and%20Norpoth.2012.pdf ) Two points as follows

    Point 1: Where did PMt, PMt-1, PMt-2 come from?

    The equation on page 10 boils down to this:

    Votet = (1 – w1 – w2)a +w1Votet-1 +w2Votet-2 + bPMt -w1bPMt-1 -w2bPMt-2

    where:
    * Votet = vote lead at election t = con lead in 2010 election
    * Votet-1 = vote lead at election t-1 = con lead in 2005 election = -2.9 (table 4, page 13)
    * Votet-2 = vote lead at election t-2 = con lead in 2001 election = -9 (table 4, page 13)
    * w1 = two-party vote total three months prior to election t = 0.771 (where 1 = two-parties have 100% of vote)
    * w2 = (PM approval rating three months prior to election t) – 1 = (0.339-1) = -0.661 (where 0 = PM has 100% approval)
    * a = a constant? = 0.549
    * b = a constant? = 0.624
    * PMt = PM approval at election t = 4.167,
    * PMt-1 = PM approval at election t-1 = -5.680
    * PMt-2 = PM approval at election t-2 = -6.521

    Where did those numbers for PMt (4.167), PMt-1 (-5.680) and PMt-2 (-6.521) come from?

    Point 2: If Votet is on the left side and PMt is on the right, what use is this model?

    The equation on page 10 predicts Votet. Votet is the con vote lead %age in election t. Yay! But on the right-hand-side of the equation we see PMt, which is the PM approval at election t (I think). So you can use this model to predict votet only if you know PMt. So you can predict the vote lead at election t if and only if you know what the PM approval is at election t. But you won’t know PMt until, ooh, the morning of the election. So…this isn’t much use.

    Can somebody else look at this and see if I’ve got something wrong? Amber, Roger Mexico, Statgeek: you have numerate jobs, can you have a look see if I’m being stupid?

    rgdsm

  31. @Martyn,

    You set a high bar for the word “numerate”.

    I can count. My job involves quite a lot of counting.

    But I have absolutely no idea what any of your last post meant at all…..

  32. I can’t read ‘PMt’ so many times in a post without giggling like a schoolgirl.

    Just watched QT with Diane James and Mehdi Hasan, who weirdly seemed to agree on a lot.

    I’m not a big fan of Alan Johnson. Kudos to him for climbing the social ladder but he’s much too Blairite for me. He sounds like a Tory half the time.

  33. @Anthony Wells

    Come to think of it, you have a numerate job too…:-) Any ideas?

    rgdsm

  34. @Neil A

    (I had a job interview yesterday in which I said “yes, I can explain complex data to clients”, so if I come across as patronising, it’s not deliberate)

    Question 1: On page 10 of the L&N paper, it says “As a last step we substitute in the known values: … PMt = 4.167, PMt-1 = -5.680, and PMt-2 = -6.521” Where did the 4.167, -5.680 and -6.521 come from?

    Question 2: The equation on page 10 predicts the vote at an election. But it uses the PM approval at that election to do it. Seeing as you don’t know the PM approval at the election until the day of the election, does that make the model useless?

    rgdsm

  35. “Where did PMt, PMt-1, PMt-2 come from?”

    PMt is the current PM approval (ideally, as you say three months before the election)

    It is calculated as follows: Using IPSOS-MORI (or other if unavalaible) divide the PM approval by the polling two-party vote.

    So, taking May 2013 for example we have 36/65 = 55.38%

    Multiply by 100 and subtract 50. If a Labour PM, multiply this by -1.
    So PMt is 5.38 (currently)
    PMt and PMt-1 in the paper are the actual PM approval figures for early 2010 and 2005, respectively. [Note Brown’s is a positive number, because it was actually negative]
    So now (or in early 2015, if you prefer) the paper’s PMt becomes PMt-1 and PMt-1 becomes PMt-2.

    Plug in the numbers and out pops the forecast Tory vote lead.

    Btw, where did you get w1 and w2 from? I thought they were simply model coefficients (as of 2010) and not derived as you say…

  36. @RodCrosby

    Thanks for the assist. So PMt = (100*(PM approval at time t)/two-party share at time t) -50)*x, where x = 1 if Con and -1 if Lab

    So on page 10, a PM approval of 33% and a two-party share of 72% gves us (100*(0.33)/(0.72)-50)*-1 = +4.167. So that explains where the 4.167 came from. I’ll take the PMt-1 = -5.680, and PMt-2 = -6.521 on trust.

    As for the w1 and w2, I assumed (incorrectly) that they were gotten from the pm approval (0.33) and two part share (0.72), since the numbers matched. As you point out, they are actually the model parameters. Ooops.

    OK, that makes sense. But my point about PMt on the right and Votet on the left is still legit.

    Having said that, it’s still good news for Cameron, since I assume the PMt now will not be greater than the PMt in 2015.

    I’m not oversold on this model, as I would have preferred one with parameters that explicitly involved PM approval and leader-of-opposition approval, since having two-party vote share on the right-hand-side (which is a function of VI) leads it perilously close to vote = some function of vote, which is tautological. But I do take the authors’ point that PM approval is a better indicator of vote lead than government approval.

    Thanks for the help, rgdsm

  37. BILLY BOB
    “Let’s hope that Ed can break through the Westminster bubble and connect with a wider public before the GE.”

    Let’s hope, on the other hand, that he doesn’t try too hard. Levenson aside, the ability of a section of the press to pillory party leaders was well illustrated in their treatment of Neil Kinnock in ’92. Would he have made a good PM? If integrity, courage, passion, wit and a commitment to the betterment of the people counted for anything, and had been allowed to be the popular perception, yes, I think so. Was he triumphalist, a boyo? Being bloody Welsh, of course he was. Did this, or Brown’s bad temper, or come to that, do Cameron’s membership of the Buffington Club, or Milliband’s funny nose and intellectualism merit an iota of interest in relation to their qualities in the exercise of government, no they don’t.

  38. @Martyn

    “I would have preferred one with parameters that explicitly involved PM approval and leader-of-opposition approval, since having two-party vote share on the right-hand-side (which is a function of VI) leads it perilously close to vote = some function of vote, which is tautological.”

    I think they tried that, and discovered that Opposition Leader approval was insignificant compared to PM approval.

    The “some function of (Tory) vote” on the right side is surely just a scaling factor, which is probably independent of the (Tory) vote, and relatively insignificant (from election to election).

  39. @RodCrosby
    Opposition Leader approval isn’t significant, so The Times poll is irrelevant – except of course that the poll gives the Times the chance to say “Miliband is useless, so Labour can’t win”.

    Thankyou for letting us know. We can now discount all similar statements and just watch Cameron’s aproval rating falling as we approach the date in February 2015 when we can use your magic formula.

    BTW: far from predicting all the elections since ’45 this method has in fact predicted none. It has simply been contrived to provide a best fit to past events. Quite a different thing.

  40. @postageincluded

    “BTW: far from predicting all the elections since ’45 this method has in fact predicted none. It has simply been contrived to provide a best fit to past events. Quite a different thing.”

    Please read the paper, and its original (2006)
    http://primarymodel.com/Press_files/PM_Pend_BJPS06.PDF

    and get a handle on the terms “autoregressive”, “out of sample” and “one step ahead” forecasts….

  41. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 30th May – CON 30%, LAB 38%, LD 11%, UKIP 14%; APP -34

  42. For what it’s worth 58% of those placing bets on who will be the PM after 2015 have put their wonga on EM only 37% on DC

    The odds on a Tory Government have lengthened slightly those on a Labour Government (odds on) have narrowed slightly and any government involving Faragistas remains at 25:1

  43. AW

    ” – I invariably see Labour supporters wedded to the idea that Miliband’s ratings will be irrelevant come the election, and Conservative supporters convinced that it would be impossible for Labour to win under Miliband.”

    Is it the same the other way round? If not, there is a possible cause other than blind partisanship.

    The way TB was able to turn a Socialist party into a centre-right party is evidence that Labour is a Leadership cult for Authoritarian Followers. They will overlook the leaders failings until they very moment when they get rid of him.

    The Conservatives may be right that EM can’t win. They overlook the fact that DC can’t – and didn’t – win either, but nobody would think the party as a whole were blindly following the leader.

    They (and UKIPpers) are following principles they signed up to in their long past youth. Unfortunately for them, where they weren’t the wrong principles, they no longer are relevant as they were applied half a century ago.

  44. @John Pilgrim – “Brown’s bad temper”

    Andrew Rawnsley’s carefully crafted narrative about Brown was extremely effective – it filtered through to the electorate a little perhaps, but more importantly it cemented the groupthink among opinion formers. Rawnsely had led the way years before by setting-in-stone the Blair vs Brown lens through which political debate was veiwed for more than a decade.

    Kinnock spoke to times past in terms of presentation, harking back to the age of political meetings and self-concsious oratory. Foot was a better exponent of that but it meant nothing to the modern media. Major’s soap box was presented as plucky, heroic even… Miliband’s pallet is ignored.

    It has been clearly signalled that much of the media campaign will centre around ridiculing the Labour leader. Tory funders will fill UKIP’s “EU elections only” account ensuring that Farage’s profile continues to capture all the attention. Closer to the election a pact will take the pressure off Tory seats, UKIP’s bandwaggon careers through the rest of the land and LD choses a new left-friendly leader.

    Every now and then one lonely voice in the commentariat concedes that Ed might almost have what it takes, that feeling (the assent of the media) needs to grow or Labour is in danger of being crowded out of the 2015 election campaign.

  45. Figures in the yougov poll on Labour 2010 voters views on EM:
    Do you think ED MILIBAND…
    Is in touch or out of touch?
    In touch 61
    Out of touch 21
    Cares about ordinary people, or cares about
    only a select few?
    Cares about ordinary people 77
    Cares about a select few? 12
    Is trustworthy or untrustworthy?
    Trustworthy 65
    Untrustworthy? 10
    Is decisive or dithering?
    Decisive 46
    Dithering 30
    Is trying to do the right thing, or serving his own
    interests?
    Trying to do the right thing 75
    Serving his own interests 12
    Is competent or incompetent?
    Competent 61
    Incompetent 16
    Honest or dishonest?
    Honest 72
    Dishonest 8
    Has a clear sense of purpose?
    Has 57
    Has not 26
    A better leader than Gordon Brown, or worse?
    Better 50
    Worse 16
    A better leader than Tony Blair, or worse?
    Better 32
    Worse 36

    So, with about the only people who care or think about it, the old boy is doing alright – vying with St.Tony, bejasus – and much better than the gravitational GB – room for improvement on the decisiveness, but when you don’t have a lot yet to decide about, that may not be surprising.

  46. BILLY BOB
    Good post, well identified, I assume also by Labour strategists. He’ll need to drive a policy coach and horses through the lot, but also does not need teaching about what John Prescott described as the poltics of campaigning.

  47. For what it’s worth 58% of those placing bets on who will be the PM after 2015 have put their wonga on EM only 37% on DC.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    @steve,

    I would never bet on anything two years out. Not even because things can change, but mainly because of the opportunity cost of what you could do with your money in terms of other investments during such a long period (or even better value bets, or even this actual bet might get better nearer the time as history tells us polls tend to tighten) etc..etc.

  48. BCC upgrades UK economic forecasts for 2013, 2014 & 2015 -to 0.9% 1.9% & 2.4% GDP growth.

    A big prize awaits the winner of the 2015 GE.

    Osborne……..we did it my way .

    Balls……..should have done it my way.

    Tough choice !

  49. @Anthony Wells

    Are there any polls on how the number of empty shops affects polling? Seem to remember in the 1990s talk about shops closing and this being negative for John Major.

  50. The BCC! they might be a bit biased. I imagine that they are mainly Torys as it is the kind of organisation Torys would join like the Womens Institute.

    Also these forecasts are all a bit nonsense growth was downgraded just the other day but some Euro body.

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