How 54% of voters will get the news this morning?

How 54% of voters will get the news this morning?

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    What do today’s front pages suggest might happen?

Reproduced above are the front pages of the four main tabloids that will greet millions of people this morning. This includes those who buy the paper and those who just have fleeting glances at news-stands and in newsagents shops the length and breadth of the land.

The hostile front page of the Express compares with the welcome it gave Blair in 1997 and the support for Labour in 2001. But the paper is not what it was and has much less influence.

The Daily Mirror’s approach is entirely what was expected while the Sun remains tantalisingly non-committed.

    The one interesting front page is the Mail whose editor, Paul Dacre, is a close friend of Brown’s. There’ll be disappointment at Number 10 about the negative tone which might be a pointer to the future.

Are they important? Yes – very. With audiences for TV news bulletins in decline the tabloids are for many people their only source of news and information. The tone that’s set can have an influence. Just ask Neil Kinnock after what the Sun did to him on April 9th 1992.

According to YouGov’s newspaper readership ratings these tabloids and their Scottish counterparts are read each day by 54% of all GB voters. By contrast the other nationals – the FT, Times, Indy and Telegraph – are seen by just 13% with the balance not being regular readers of a national paper at all. There’s a lot to play for.

The main betting story of Brown’s first day has been a market launched yesterday afternoon by William Hill on “what will happen first during Brown’s first term”. Eagle-eyed PB-ers spotted the 10/1 that was available against Labour losing a by election. Given the other possibilities listed in the market this looked like a great bet especially as we have contests at Ealing Southall and Sedgefield coming up.

Clearly the money started piling on and by the close of business last night the price had tightened to 5/1. Let’s hope that the bookmaker puts it up again this morning.

Mike Smithson

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