News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dead Cat Brown?

As expected, the publicity caused by the Labour leadership contest has resulted in a small Labour lead in most, but not all, of the recent opinion polls. The main losers have actually been the Lib Dems, which suggests that left wingers who disliked Blair are returning to the Labour fold - again, as expected. The polls all suggest a welcome return to two party politics, which is the way our democracy and the majority of voters tend to think. The Lib Dems don't like the fact that voters think in such a black and white two party way, but they acknowledge the truth in the statement every time they use a dodgy bar chart to illustrate the "two horse race" in which "only the Lib Dems can beat Labour/Conservative/SNP/Plaid" (delete as appropriate).

The polls have shown Labour's support rising to a modest 38-39%, 3-4% ahead of the Conservatives.

Over at Conservative Home, Liberal Tory has some interesting insights which demonstrate that all is very far from lost.

I like to keep old newspapers on historic days. I've just dusted off my copy of the 'Independent' from Thursday 29 November 1990 - the first day of John Major's Premiership, with reports on the appointment of his first cabinet - and the first opinion poll.

I remember at the time Labour using the old "Tories have had saturation coverage" argument. But the reported poll is striking:

Harris/ITN poll, 29 November 1990

Voting intention:
Conservatives: 49%
Labour: 38%
LibDem: 9%

Best candidate for PM:
Major: 49%
Kinnock: 24%

Who do you think will win the next election?
Conservatives: 60%
Labour: 29%
Don't know: 11%

Labour's bounce now doesn't seem so big in comparison, does it?


Jae said...

Are you comparing David Cameron to Neil Kinnock???? Poor David!

I understand what you are suggesting but I think the Brown vs. Cameron fight is going to be a hell of a lot different than Major vs. Kinnock.

And anyway... Major won the 1992 election so it took Labour 7 years to finally get over those poll results.

I suspect the Brown bounce may not go away for a little while yet.

Dan Hassett said...

I'm saying that DC's in a better position than Neil Kinnock, so I suppose that's a comparison of a kind. I rather think that Neil Kinnock is underestimated as Labour leader though - considering that he took over after the disaster that was Michael Foot with the memories of the IMF crisis, hyper inflation and the winter of discontent still very much in peoples' minds.

Major won the 1992 election on the back of opinion polls which placed him in a much stronger position at this stage of his leadership than these polls are giving Brown.

Like they always say on election nights - "remember, this is all just a bit of fun". None of us will really know what will happen until the votes are in and counted after then next election.