- Did the controversial “named leader” question get it right all along?
The above table is reproduced from UK Polling Report’s record of the controversial “named leader” questions that several pollsters asked during the period between David Cameron’s election as Tory leader in December 2005 and Gordon’s arrival in June 2007.
These findings proved to be highly controversial and every time I featured them on the site they came under fierce attack. For what was being presented was dynamite. For on almost every occasion when compared with the standard voting intention findings Labour was shown to do considerably worse with Gordon in the job.
The idea that the man the party was going to make leader was an electoral liability was just too hard to swallow and Team Brown put an enormous effort into discrediting the findings.
Just look at the table above and what do you see – a broadly similar picture of voting intention to that we are experiencing at the moment.
What these historical finding suggest, I contend, is that Brown was never going to be popular once the novelty of his honeymoon period had worn off. The PLP have elected unopposed someone who could lose a lot of MPs their jobs – and there was lots of data about to support this when they decided not to support a rival candidate.
Given that the pattern of big Tory leads over a Brown-led Labour now goes back for two years you have to question whether, indeed, we are going to see the pendulum swing back to Labour while the current leadership is in place.
In my view there is a trend going back over a long enough period to suggest that a Brown-led Labour is almost doomed to failure. The big question is whether the Tories can do enough to win an overall majority.
Maybe this time I’ll stick with my Conservative seats buy spread position.