Why is Howard beating Blair for female support?
With the betting markets moving a notch to the Tories following the Guardian ICM survey further information from the poll, now available, shows the potential big gender gap at the coming election.
Interviewees were asked to rate whether a number of leading politicians were “an asset or a liability to their party”. Tony Blair came out with a rating of 45-43 in favour – but there was a huge difference between the men surveyed and the women. The males went for Blair by 48-42 while the women gave him a negative rating.
With Michael Howard the overall rating was 45-35 that he was an asset – a good result given that Labour’s key strategy in recent weeks has been to demonise the Tory leader. But amongst the men surveyed the gaps was much less – 46 to 40. With the women, however, Michael Howard was rated as an asset by 48 to 30 – a very big margin.
Charles Kennedy had an overall asset-liability ratio of 57 to 23 but he scored slightly higher amongst the men than the women.
Given that it was Blair’s success in attracting women to New Labour that was the back-bone of the 1997 landslide this new trend could be very significant.
The pollsters are currently testing all sorts of different approaches to finding out our view of different personalities. For the YouGov survey expected in the Telegraph on Friday people are being asked who they most like watching and listening to on the radio and television.
The ICM poll has led to more money going on the Tories to win most seats at the General Election. Since last night on Betfair the price has dropped from 9/1 to 15/2 and lower. Clearly this is a very long-shot but some punters have been encouraged to take the plunge.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005