Thursday, 13 March 2014

Labour and opinion polls

Why is it that Labour appears to be paying too much attention to results of some opinion polls, and not enough to others? Whenever Miliband makes a radical proposal, such as the intention to impose an energy price freeze, Labour`s poll ratings improve, but this doesn`t generate a glut of similar policies; yet other polls often dictate decisions.
  The rather misleading headline to a Guardian article today (12/03/14) on the latest opinion poll should not be of too much concern for Labour, as its message is based on a very badly worded question, and in fact, the Tories may not be "winning  the economy blame game",as the heading suggests,at all. ICM asked this question in their poll: 
Who or what was "most to blame for Britain`s recent economic difficulties and the ongoing cutbacks in government spending"? 
  The answer revealed twice as many blaming the last Labour government as the present coalition. 
  The problem is that question makes two enquiries, not one, and many, if not most, voters would want to reply with two different answers, with bankers` profligacy inevitably being prominent amongst them. If all recent polls have included such loaded questions, is it any wonder that Labour has consistently lagged behind in the "blame game"? But the problem is that Labour pays far too much attention to these negative ratings, when, perhaps, ignoring them would be the more sensible, and more electorally lucrative, thing to do. 
   Rather than devising economic policies which mirror those of the Tories in efforts to regain the supposedly lost trust of the electorate, Labour would do better to look closely at the questions being asked in opinion polls, and formulate policies instead which concentrate on fairness, and making the rich pay their appropriate share, something that is long overdue. Labour should not be worried by fears that the Tories would respond to higher taxes on the rich with taunts of "Red Ed" and such like, but look forward to boosts in poll ratings because of policies which most people regard as fair. A Labour government should have plenty of its own principles to put into practice, without having to resort to pandering to Tory propaganda, and to formulate policies based on answers to ambiguous questions in opinion polls.

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