Do bad polls lead to more bad polls?
In the final days of last November’s White House race a leading US expert on voter behaviour observed: â€œNegative feelings about a campaign can discourage voters by making them less likely to go through what can be a painful process: Voting for someone who will lose.â€
Although we are probably at least a year off voting isn’t that what’s happening with Labour supporters at the moment? They saw in late November and early December that perhaps there was just a glimpse of light and that Labour might not be doomed after all. This affected their attitude and the supporters of other parties to the voting process. Now the party and its supporter base appears to be that much more dispirited and that’s reflected here.
The ComRes calculation that goes straight into the headline figures is based on this formula: “If respondents answer 4 or below we assume they are unlikely to vote and exclude them from the voting intention calculation. Those who answer between 5 and 10 are then asked which party they would vote for and their answers are weighted from 0.5 to 1.0 respectively”
So quite often the changes we see from poll to poll have as much if not more to do with voter certainty than actual switching between parties.
One pollster, Ipsos-MORI, has a very tough approach to voter certainty. Only those saying they are 100% certain to vote go into the headline voting intention figures and this is perhaps why its polls show quite a lot of turbulence.
The question for Brown Central is what they can do about their supporter base? Can they turn things round or will be negative poll ratings generate more negative poll ratings? How Brown’s big trip to Washington and tomorrow’s speech to congress is reported in the UK media could have a big impact.
We come back to our old friend “The Media Narrative“. If Labour and its leader can be reported in a more favourable light then the polls might not be so bad.