Are Labour’s focus groups giving it the thumbs up?
We are barely fourteen months away from a formal election campaign having to start and one would assume that every single message that the main parties are trying to get over has been tested extensively in focus groups and other polling.
What’s at stake is so important that anything that could influence voters in the key marginals has, surely, to be tested and tested to ensure that the parties are getting over the message that resonates best.
So what are we to make of Brown’s continued use of the “Do Nothing Tories” jibe even though the voting intention polls are all showing big moves away from the Labour?
At PMQs today Brown must have used the term at least a dozen times and you can only assume that this was deliberate.
Party leaders, surely, at such a critical time don’t take these decisions lightly.
So what is Deborah Mattinson, Labour’s polling advisor and someone who has the ear of Gordon, saying about the strategy? Is she finding that this line of attack continues to resonate and this is why it is continuing?
Maybe the decision has been made to make this portrayal of their main opponent the key theme at least for the time being? Maybe Brown is being advised that the more this is said the more it is likely to get through.
Clearly I have not any of the research but my sense is that Brown and many of his ministers have got this wrong. There might even be an argument for saying that they don’t mention the Tories at all and concentrate on what they are trying to do instead.
The most effective ministers at the moment seem to be Alistair Darling and Alan Johnson – neither of whom go into the auto-rhetoric.