Was the Sun just following its readers?

Was the Sun just following its readers?

Is this a taste of the next eight months?

Today’s Sun gives a firmer indication of what the paper’s change of allegiance will mean in terms how the paper intends to carry on its political coverage in the run-up to the general election.

Just look at the way it covers Harriet Harman’s attack on the paper. If this is a taster then we are in for an interesting time.

Quite what the electoral impact will be is hard to measure but as new data out from Ipsos-MORI suggests the Sun is really just following what its readers have already decided.

Ben Page, CEO of the firm, notes: “Ipsos MORI’s aggregate political data from January to September 2009 shows that 42% would vote Conservative, compared to only 29% who would support the Labour Party.

Although this means that Sun readers are still a little more likely to support Gordon Brown’s government than are the public as a whole, they have swung more heavily to the Conservatives than the rest of the public since the 2005 general election – the public as a whole has swung from Labour to the Conservatives by 9 points since 2005, while Sun readers have swung to the Conservatives by 12.5 points.

At the 2005 general election 45% of Sun readers voted for Labour, while only a third (33%) of them voted for the Conservatives. However, the shift in votes has not simply been from Labour to Conservatives; just one in ten (10%) Sun readers voted for a party other than the ‘big three’ compared with 17% who say they would do so now.

Labour held a lead over the Tories until 2008 when the political tide began to shift towards the Conservatives and Sun readers, as did the public as a whole, swung towards David Cameron’s party.”

The betting markets have taken responded with an easing of the Labour price on securing most seats with Ladbrokes now offering 7/1. I think that’s the best price ever from a traditional bookie.

The spreads from SportingIndex are now showing CON 360 – 365: LAB 200 – 205: LD 47 – 50 seats. Labour was down to 198 – 203 at one stage yesterday but it moved back a couple of notches after the YouGov tracker poll.

I’m waiting until we see polling that is not affected by the party conferences before deciding which way to go.

Mike Smithson

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