If you have suspicions about political polling results, you share them with the SKWAWKBOX. However, the usual suspicion – since 2015 at least – is that they inflate Tory popularity and understate Labour’s.
So a poll that shows a substantial improvement in Labour’s ratings is potentially hugely significant.
One week ago, just after the General Election was called, the Tories were – according to Tory-owned YouGov – running 24 points (48%/24%) ahead of Labour in voting intention.
For the moment, let’s leave aside the issue of whether it’s really credible that almost half the people in the country intend to vote Tory when the Conservatives are a shambles and the Prime Minister is so clearly wooden and remote – even with the help of glove-puppet media.
Today, the Daily Mirror is reporting YouGov’s polling results showing a dramatic change to 45%/29% – still a substantial 16 points, but down by eight percentage points in just a single week. (NB: the Mirror says seven, but it wrongly states that YouGov’s voting intention polling had the Tories 23% ahead last week).
The crucial difference between last week and this is that the electorate have had a week of seeing and hearing Jeremy Corbyn with less filtering by the mainstream media. Usually, the public’s diet of Corbyn’s actual words and presence is carefully rationed, while we’re force-fed their interpretation of his words and situation like unfortunate foie-gras geese.
Most of the media are still doing their utmost to re-cast Corbyn after every speech or announcement – to ‘re-toxify’ him if you will – but electoral rules have forced them to let the viewing public actually see him in action and hear what he says.
And in just a week, a third of the Tories’ lead – even polling what many feel are unrepresentative samples – disappeared.
Theresa May’s set-piece speeches to tightly-controlled (and tiny) audiences have been derided by Labour supporters – but they are clearly not impressing the general populace either.
Corbyn’s authentic love for being out among people and the warmth with which they greet him and his message are lauded by Labour supporters – but his appeal, now we’re allowed to actually see him – clearly goes well beyond his core support.
No matter how much pundits say otherwise.
The Tories will never admit it, of course, but they’re rattled – rattled enough to have turned to personal attacks just a week into the campaigning and even to spread fake news about him.
Polling can change. Polls can be wrong – any Corbyn supporter probably at least suspects/hopes they are. But that radical a change in so short a period should be a cause for hope and encouragement for anyone who genuinely wants a Labour government – and for a country that needs one.
It also shows that May and her advisers are right to be afraid – and to want to keep her out of sight as much as possible. But it just might be that the public is getting wise to it, in spite of certain journalists’ attempts to portray it as some kind of masterful strategy.
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