The front pages of two of Sunday’s newspapers tell a remarkable story. It’s not the story either of them is trying to tell:
The picture is extremely murky and difficult to unpick. The Daily Mirror is traditionally a Labour newspaper, but its recent history is one of attacking Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn. In a General Election campaign, the supposedly left-wing tabloid is carrying a front page featuring a poll that supposedly shows the Tories reaching 50% in an opinion poll.
The Daily Mail is a poisonous right-wing publication that delights in trashing the Labour Party, has a history of supporting British fascism and fawning over Theresa May. It carries a poll showing that the Tory lead has halved almost overnight because of the Tories’ chaos and hubris over planned tax-increases.
In other words, it’s almost as if the two had undergone a ‘Freaky Friday’-type mind-swap, with each behaving as you might expect the other to.
What’s going on? Are the two publications each trying to pull off some convoluted reverse-psychology? Are they trying to fire a warning shot across the bows of their respective preferred party for some reason? Are they genuinely trying to undermine the electoral credibility of their respective preferred party? Did they commission polls with a brief designed to achieve a particular result for whatever reason? Something else?
But one thing stands out as absolutely clear: both of those polls cannot be right. Theresa May cannot have both increased her lead to 50% and lost half of it.
Perhaps neither poll is correct. But if two polls on the same day can give such diametrically opposed results – an increase and a huge fall in Tory polling at the same time – then how can any poll be considered reliable?
Given the clear media bias – documented and attested by respected academics – why should we assume that any poll they either commission or report be considered a remotely realistic indicator of the voting intentions of the public?
And if they’re not measuring, then they’re trying to influence.
All of which means that Corbyn’s storming start to his campaign and Theresa May’s evident fear of being seen in direct comparison with him are even more relevant and telling.
And that anyone who tells you the result is a foregone conclusion is either gullible or misleading – and if the latter, then for the purpose of discouraging campaigners and voters to make the prophecy self-fulfilling.
The reality is that nobody knows – and nobody will know until the result of the General Election. Polls have been badly wrong more often than remotely right recently – and tomorrow’s front pages will carry evidence that that doesn’t appear to have changed, in spite of the insistence of pundits that polls tell a clear story.
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