There’s a brilliant web site, independently run by YouGov political analyst Anthony Wells, called the UK Polling Report. Along with lots of other election data is brings together all the opinion polls every day. It also has data going back to the last election. There is perhaps no better representation of what has happened in the last couple of weeks than this graph taken from the site. Between 2005 and 2008 the Labour and Conservative shares were much of a muchness, whilst the last two years saw unbroken Tory dominance, albeit with a steady narrowing of the gap since last summer. Then wham bam thank you mam the three parties collided after the first TV debate and that look very much like where we’ll be in just over a week’s time.
Henry Macrory the Head of Press at the Conservative Party posted a tweet today with a link to the picture (above) of Jack Straw talking to an empty square in Wolverhampton this week. He had uploaded the picture himself and it appears today on the Conservative Home blog stating – No one is listening to Labour, John Prescott couldn’t attract a crowd last week and Jack Straw has the same problem this week. But the scene below was caught on video by the local Express and Star newspaper and shows Straw wrapping up his soapbox address to a fair size crowd.
Since we posted on the Leaders’ Debate Poll conducted by YouGov on Thursday there has been an extraordinary revelation. YouGov says their internet poll on the TV debate was conducted between 9.27pm and 9.31pm, so the majority of responses were taken during the debate not after it.
This is critical because it means the poll was taken during the summing up speeches. The speeches took place at the following times:
Brown 9:26:30 – 9:28:05
Cameron 9:28:08 – 9:29:17
Clegg 9:29:18 – 9:30:47
That means that over half of the polling would have been done before Clegg summed up in the debate. It also meant that up to half the responses were taken whilst Cameron was summing up and had sole command of the floor and the cameras. That’s a serious flaw in the process and is either incompetence or intentional distortion. You decide which you think it was.
The YouGov/Sun poll gained an enormous amount of exposure on Sky TV last night when it appeared minutes after the TV debate wrapped up. It put Cameron clearly in the lead and fired up an already excitable Kay Burley. When other polls appeared the tale was somewhat different as ITV/ComRes, the Guardian/ICM and The Mirror all put Clegg first, with The Mirror even reporting that Cameron had come last. So what was going on. A quick look at twitter confirmed a broader sense of astonishment at the YouGov findings. The tweet…
YouGov Poll: Earth round 23% Earth flat 64% Earth other-shaped 13% #LeadersDebate
..was posted by hundreds of voters. A Twitpic that has been viewed over 18,000 times suggests that YouGov has been polling on behalf of either the Tories or Labour to elicit voter fears in the event of the Liberals gaining a big share of the vote.
Twitter posts also pointed to the extraordinary fact that the founder and (until the start of the campaign) CEO of YouGov is a Conservative candidate. It isn’t much of stretch to question the independence and therefore reliability of a polling organisation that may be commercially and politically aligned to one of the major parties. In this game value and reliability are very closely linked.
A poll in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday puts the Liberal Democrats in poll position with two and a half weeks to go before May 6th and the real vote. The breakdown of the BPIX – Mail on Sunday is as follows:
Liberal Democrats 32%
The other polls published in the national press tomorrow have the Tories in first place but with a much reduced margin and the LibDems are second in one with Brown’s Labour party hanging on to second place in the Telegraph/ICM prediction.
The Sunday Mirror/Independent on Sunday/ComRes poll has the Conservatives on 31% (-4), Labour on 27 per cent (-2) and the Liberal Democrats on 29 per cent (+8). The Sunday Telegraph/ICM poll puts the Tories on 34 per cent (-3), Labour on 29 per cent (-2) and the Lib Dems on 27 per cent (+7). YouGov and the Sunday Times have the Conservatives at 33%, Labour 30% and Liberal Democrats 29%.
In the Leaders Debate Cameron uttered the immortal line “a 40-year old black man made the point to me: ‘I came here when I was six, I’ve served in the Royal Navy for 30 years”. The fact that Cameron thought it important to make the point that he had conversation with people irrespective of ethnicity came across as preposterous – as daft as the idea that this guy had joined the navy at the age of 10.
Well it didn’t take long for the web to take the proverbial with the Cameron anecdote generator. The model is the same as the ‘airbrushed for change’ poster generator and it uses the same mug shot. Click the poster to take you to the site and randomise the anecdote.
It’s still the view at Election 10 that the vote will be on May 6th but the idea that Brown will go to the Palace tomorrow to seek a dissolution is frankly a load of toss. Why? Because he doesn’t have to.
The last date for calling an election to be held on the 6th of May is next Monday (12th April) and that is when it will most likely happen. Any sooner and that will mean that the phony war is over and the campaign will be stepped up several gears. The shorter the campaign the better as far as GB and the Labour Party are concerned. The Tory party coffers are much deeper than Labour’s and that means more money for campaigning and costly advertising. Calling the election tomorrow will put the socialist fighting fund at risk of running out before the plebiscite. That, quite simply, is why it won’t happen.
Note: this article made a bold and perhaps with the benefit of hindsight foolhardy claim about the date the election would/would not be called. It was amended late on Monday 5th April but the original is intact as you can see for your (and our) amusement.
Tonight’s televised debate between the leading candidates to be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide a solid indication of the potential relevance of social media in the coming election. Whilst the arguments are played out in the front channel (the TV), the arguments and analysis will be broadcast simultaneously in what has become known as the back channel. Specifically social media and in particular, twitter. The programme makers are promoting this and have created a hashtag #askthechancellors, so that two-screen viewers can follow the debate – front and back. Live online reaction will also be played back to the TV audience.
The on-line debate will alow anyone to voice an opinion with the potential for that opinion to be propelled either by other like-minded voices on-line or through broadcast TV. There will also be the coordinated voices of campaigners like the InVinceCable, the social media pressure group who launched their campaign to back Vince Cable earlier today.
Before the credits roll we will have a clear sense through the on-line commentary of which of the pretenders to Number 11 Downing Street has caught the mood of the nation. This is important partly because it paves the way for what will happen in the party leader debates but also because it is our economy that is at stake.
When David Cameron met Christian O’Connell on Absolute Radio and uttered the now infamous comment when O’Connell asked him why he didn’t use Twitter, he boobed big time. The Tory leader’s utterance “The trouble with Twitter… too many twits might make a twat.” may prove to be a far bigger faux pas than originally thought and for quite different reasons.
By branding users of the social network as twats he effectively curbed his party’s ability to make the most of the social network. In short if you are a Tory MP on twitter the leader thinks you might be a bit of a twat. The ‘twat effect’ is now becoming evident as Tory MPs fall behind on the network that was one of the social media pillars of the Obama campaign. Tweetminster delivered a breakdown of MPs (and MEPs) today that put the Tories 5 points behind Labour.
The party breakdown of politicians (MPs + PPCs) on Twitter was as follows:
- Labour 34%
- Conservative 29%
- Liberal Democrat 24%
- Others 13%
If you look at the latest share of tweets the Tory party is in third place with just 18% behind Labour and the Liberal Democrats. This election wont be won or lost on twitter by any stretch of the imagination but is does seem a little naive to immobilize a key platform just to get down with the kids.
On Saturday the Tory Party launched a web assault on Gordon Brown with a site called Cash Gordon. The site highlighted Brown’s links to the Unite union and invited users to play to earn ‘action points’ by tweeting about the campaign. When the lobby for cash story broke Cash Gordon started to gain significant interest.
At the time of writing Cash Gordon is no more and the URL is directed at the news pages of the main Conservative site.