Does Labour always recover quickly from defeat?

Does Labour always recover quickly from defeat?

Tories come to power 1951 48 48.8 2.5
Gallup after 6 months 41 48 9
Tories come to power 1970 46.4 43 7.5
Gallup after 6 months 42 47 8
Tories come to power 1979 43.9 36.9 13.8
Gallup after 6 months 39 43 15
Coalition comes to power 2010 37 29.7 23.6
MORI after five months 37 37 15

Is too much being read into the latest polls?

Thanks to Professor Phil Cowley of Nottingham University for highlighting this on LeftFootForward – that Labour has a history of making fast recoveries in the polls following election defeats.

His conclusion: “..What’s happened in the polls is what you’d expect: Government Making Cuts is Unpopular Shocker. Its only significance will come if too many Labour people think it’s significant.”

There is a tendency to compare everything with when Labour returned to power in 1997 – but as he points out “the trouble is that the experience after 1997 is atypical”.

After 1951 Labour was out of power for thirteen years – after 1979 the gap was eighteen years.

Mike Smithson

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