Friday, March 11, 2011


Labour Could do so Much Better says Pollster

An article by pollster Peter Kellner (left), recently took Labour to task for underperforming. He cited evidence from the latest ST yougov poll:

"54% disapprove of the Government’s record to date; only 32% approve – a net score of minus 22. Immediately after George Osborne’s first Budget last June, its net score was plus 21
• Just 23% think ‘this Coalition Government will be good for people like you’, down from 41% last June
• Only 35% think the Government is managing the economy well, down from 50% last June
• The ‘feel-good factor’ – the proportion expecting their financial situation to improve over the next six months minus the proportion expecting it to worsen – has deteriorated to minus 56; this is far worse than the minus 19 recorded during last year’s election campaign
• Following last week’s disappointing figures for Britain’s national income, 57% now think it likely that Britain will slide back into recession."

Kellner argues that given the dire state of the government in public estimation, the only opposition party should be cleaning up. And, at only just above 40%, it's not. The Conservatives meanwhile, continue to poll 37%, the same as at the election. The Lib Dems have suffered as their left of centre faction has deserted to Labour, leaving them on a measly 8%. Yet Ed Miliband's rating at minus 6 only looks bad until you realise in early January it was -21%.

These figures are given added point by Jonathan Freedland's recent piece, where he argues the Conservative led coalition is beginning to build a reputation for incompetence.

This government is already developing a competence problem. The evidence is there in the bonfire David Cameron had to make of his own forestry sell-off policy, in the bungled announcements last summer of which schools would and would not face the axe to their planned buildings programme – a list that had to be issued and then re-issued no fewer than four times – and in the blaming of an economic contraction on the wrong kind of snow.

The prime minister, who rightly won plaudits for his graceful apology following the Bloody Sunday inquiry, seems to have developed a taste for saying the hardest word. And "sorry" certainly has its uses. It casts him as a different kind of Tory PM, reasonable and listening where Margaret Thatcher was stubborn and dogmatic. But apology is a coinage that gets debased through overuse. Do it too often and the public soon comes to believe the serial apologisers are alarmingly accident-prone.

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