Will the PBR make the media narrative a reality?
It’s a measure of how completely potty the media has become in recent weeks that on the eve of the the PBR and all the talk of an early general election that there’s been an almost total news black-out on yesterday’s ICM showing the Tories on 42%, Labour on 31% with the Lib Dems scoring 19%. You would have thought that every little bit of polling data would have been devoured, highlighted and scrutinised.
But the media narrative, that is what journalists collectively deem the story to be, is that the financial collapse has totally changed the UK political situation. The consequence is that the only polling data that is given prominence is anything that supports this line. So last week’s MORI’s 3% Tory lead is given huge and ongoing coverage without any serious questioning about what appear to be distortions in the sample. Anything else is ignored.
This doesn’t change the reality. Cameron’s Tories are still firmly there in the 40s and the only way Labour can have a chance is if that number can be brought down sharply. Big changes in opinion normally come in step changes and that’s what we have not seen
Yes Labour has improved from the depths of June but the Tories are still only down a couple of notches or so from their peak with the pollsters that have most experience with past vote weighting. Just see this list of ICM polls.
So today’s pre-budget report could be crucial. In the run-up to today we have had huge changes in the stances of both main parties so that there is real clear division. The talk of a 5% post general election tax hike for top earners seems designed to put the squeeze really on the Tories. If this is what is announced then that, surely, will be the main battle-ground for the general election.
Today on PB: Unless there is a late change of plan I’m spending three hours this afternoon at Sky News as one of studio “pundits” on the PBR and its reaction. The channel is splitting its coverage so the bit that I’m on can on can only be accessed “by pressing the red button” or something like that. After that I’m off to an evening function in London.
This means that I won’t be able to post but a combination of continuation threads and contributions from Morus should provide the framework the ongoing discussions.