Do “class war” issues really poll well?

Do “class war” issues really poll well?

Latest Ipsos-MORI issues index

Is Sunny Hundal misreading the data?

There’s a fascinating debate going on amongst Labour/left bloggers over whether the party’s apparent “class war” strategy is the right way to go.

The Scottish Labour MP, Tom Harris, is very much against arguing that “.the only strategy Labour should even consider is one which aims to see us re-elected with a working overall majority in the Commons. Setting our sights anywhere lower than that would be a betrayal of our country and our party.”

Liberal Conspiracy’s Sunny Hundal takes the opposite viewpoint arguing: “..Class War remains an electorally viable strategy because: (a) a majority of voters are persuaded by the implication; (b) it highlights wedge issues Labour needs to advance to narrow their defeat; (c) extensive polling shows that most ‘class war’ positions are deeply popular.

I suggest both of them take a close look at the regular Ipsos-MORI monthly “Issues Index” where interviewees are asked, totally unprompted, to suggest the ” the most important issues facing Britain”. They can list as many as they like and this has been asked in this way for more than thirty years. What I like about it is that we get a real sense of the importance in people’s minds of different policy areas.

If in the face-to-face interviews people put or don’t put issues forward then that is a measure, surely, of the level of importance they attach to them.

Thus if Hindal’s assertion that “most class war issues are deeply popular” was correct then they would figure higher than the 7% for inequality and the 3% for “low pay/fair wages” that were recorded in the last such poll.

Tom Harris is on the right side of the argument here.

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  • Mike Smithson

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