But should Brown be worried by the Sun’s coverage?
The latest opinion poll to be published, Ipsos-Mori in the Sun, has good news for Labour and bad news for the Tories and the Lib Dems. We don’t know yet, however, when the survey was actually carried out. If previous months are anything to go by then the fieldwork probably took place before yesterday’s ICM poll.
These are the shares with changes on the last Ipsos-Mori poll in August – CON 34%(-2): LAB 42%(+1): LD 14%(-2). The 42% share is what Labour got in the 2001 general election. Mind you five days before that election the pollster was reporting Labour on 50% with a 23% lead.
What might cause some concern in the Brown camp is the way the Sun is covering the poll. The front page is reproduced here and indicates strongly that the paper will continue to take a pro-EU referendum stance and play it big.
Although we have not seen the detail Mori found that Labour would get an even bigger boost if Brown did a U-turn on his EU treaty referendum refusal.
It’s important to note that the firm’s methodology is completely different from the other four pollsters that regularly cover British politics. The pollster does not attempt to predict elections but rather to give a “snap-shot of opinion”. As a result it does not get involved in the complex mathematics of the other firm by trying to ensure that its samples are politically representative.
The headline figures that are published are restricted to those saying they are 100% certain to vote. This has a huge effect. Ipsos-Mori’s “all adults naming a party” figures regularly show massive Labour leads so that in only one of the 20 surveys it has carried out since Cameron became Tory leader had Labour not been on top. We have not got the latest “all adults naming a party” which is the one most directly comparable with the 2001 example above.
Whatever we do need to see the fieldwork dates. That two point decline in the Lib Dem share in a poll published shortly after a successful conference needs to be set in the context of when the questions were asked.
This is all going to fuel the October 2007 election pressure.
I’ve now become a seller on the “Gordon weeks” spread market. I’m still doubtful about the October suggestions but pressure is building and I make a profit if Gord goes at any time before the end of 2008.
Lead down to just 1% if Gord refuses a referendum
More detail on the Sun’s Mori poll is now available and, questions were asked of how people would vote if Brown agreed to an EU referendum treaty and if he went into the election refusing one. With a referendum the poll reports a staggering 17% Labour lead.
Without a referendum then Labour’s lead collapses to just one per cent.
The paper’s report says “A massive 81 per cent want a referendum, our survey reveals. And two thirds â€” 64 per cent â€” believe Mr Brown is going back on promises by refusing to grant them a say. Only one voter in five believes the Prime Ministerâ€™s claim that the Treaty is so different from a constitution that there is no need for a referendum.”
It always hard to assess the importance of questions like this and until we see the detail we don’t know whether the 100% certain turnout filter has been applied to the second phase of voting intention questions.
What is clear from both the splash front page coverage, reports and the hard-hitting editorial is that the Sun has chosen the morning of Brown’s conference speech to put maximum pressure on the new PM.