Are these the scariest figures of all for Labour?

Are these the scariest figures of all for Labour?


    Even without the “adjustments” things look awful

One of the nagging doubts at the back of my mind about the current Tory poll leads is that much of it could be down to modern polling techniques. Could it be, I’ve been asking myself as I work out how much to risk on the spread markets, that part of Labour’s deficits are down to the adjustments that pollsters make and not fundamental shifts of opinion?

The new polling techniques have not been tested in a situation like that we are seeing at the moment where there’s been such a swing away from Labour.

Take for instance the certainty to vote responses which have a huge impact on the final numbers – could they be hiding a mass of Labour support that would come back during the intensity of an election campaign? This is certainly the view and hope of Nick Palmer – the site’s most long-standing MP contributor.

Well there is one set of polling numbers that come out every month which tend not to get much attention. These are the “all naming a party” shares from Ipsos-MORI. Here, unlike all the other main pollsters there’s no weighting for past voting or party ID and the “certainty to vote” responses are not factored into the figures. The firm, of course, uses only the “100% certains” for its headline figures.

Over the years this MORI figure has almost always shown Labour in much better position than other pollsters. Only last February when Tory leads of upto 11% were being recorded the MORI “all naming a party” figure was showing an 8% Labour lead.

How things have changed dramatically in the past seven months. That 8% Labour lead has become a general election winning Tory lead of 14%. With an outcome like this on it is hard to find any comfort element for Brown and his team.

I believe that there was a step change just after Darling’s budget and since then all has looked gloomy. It’s becoming hard to argue that there will not be a significant Tory majority if not a landslide.

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Mike Smithson

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