Has Blair really not been hurt by Iraq, Kelly, and Hutton?
The Independent on Sunday’s new pollster, Communicate Research, has Labour back at their 2001 General Election share according to their latest survey out today.
The figures with changes on the same poll last month are CON 31 (-2), LAB 42(+2), LD 20(+3). At the last election Labour got 42%, the Tories 32.7% and the Lib Dems 18.8%. So the only change on 2001, according to CR, is a small switch the Tories to the LDs.
We have talked a lot on the site about weighting results according to people’s recall of what they did in 2001 because the difficulty that phone pollsters have of finding a representative sample. CR do not do this.
What we have are figures unweighted by recalled past vote of people who have landlines and happened to be in, ready to answer an unsolicited phone call from a stranger and be willing to talk when the computer generated dialler got through to them.
For a range of reasons, as other pollsters have found, such an approach tends to produce disproportionately more Labour supporters than those of other parties. Unlike other pollsters, as well, CR do no set out in their interviews the different party options – an approach that has been shown to favour Labour and the Tories.
At the 2001 General Election the Indy’s then pollster, Rasmussen, was one of the most accurate and was the only firm to predict precisely the Tory share. Why they should have been replaced by CR and their methodologies beggars belief.
Elsewhere in the Indy today there is sceptical piece on pollsters by the veteran political commentator, Alan Watkins Everyone seems to agree that, come May or whenever it is, this government is going to get in again. The polls say so. The journalists at Westminster have few doubts. Even the Tories admit ruefully that their time has not yet come: if, indeed, it ever does come. But the strange thing is this. Of all the people I know – friends, relations, acquaintances whether close or slight – not one of them intends to vote Labour at the election. Some do not propose to vote at all. Others promise to support the Respect coalition, if there is a candidate available. Most are going for the Liberal Democrats, about half of them (I would estimate) in a switch from Labour. A few, most eccentric of all, say they will vote Conservative. But then, that is because they have always voted this way and, if they were prepared to put up with Mr John Major and then Mr William Hague, they see no reason to forsake Mr Michael Howard now. This, I realise, is what the sociologists used scornfully to call anecdotal evidence, though what other kind of evidence there is I do not know.
The CR survey also opens up a massive 10% gap between the various polling organisations on the Labour lead. They cannot all be right and our money would certainly not be on the Indy survey.
The spread markets are unchanged at LAB 344-352: CON 202-210: LD 70-74. The Labour price is still two seats below where it was at the end of July when Labour’s lead was just 1%.