The bad headlines are barely having an impact
Even though he is under the most intensive media pressure the detailed numbers, just out, from Sunday’s YouGov poll show that those planning to vote Labour are overwhelmingly loyal to the triple General Election winner Tony Blair.
When asked about Tessa Jowell the same group was much less charitable. By 44-33 they thought that her separation from her husband was “not genuine but only to save her career”
The YouGov findings were very similar to ICM’s Guardian survey last week for which the full data is now available. This had 72% of Labour supporters declaring themselves “satisfied” with Tony Blair compared with 68% of Tories saying the same about David Cameron.
The real challenge for Blair now is that he seems to have lost the support of several important parts of the media and the stories could just run and run.
Keeping Rupert Murdoch and the Sun on side might be critical. For if the fellow Oxford-educated media tycoon turns against him then surely Blair will have to adjust his departure timetable.
What could also be key are the May local elections. The expected Labour set-backs could be covered by the media as being fatal. It will be recalled that in May 2003 there was a huge expectation that a poor Tory local election performance would act as a springboard to IDS’s departure. The Friday edition of the Today programme seemed to be all set-up to report on Duncan Smith’s demise. The only problem was that his party won 600 seats.
In the “When will Blair go” betting the money has been piling on a 2006 departure.