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Even their own polls say GB did better than they’re saying

Posted on 23 April 2010 | 3:04pm

One of the broadcasters told one of GB’s aides last night that David Cameron ‘won’ the second leaders’ TV debate. Fine, you might think. The guy’s entitled to his opinion, and that was what he thought.

The only problem is – he said it just after 6pm, well before the debate took place.

What he meant was that in the media bubble surrounding the debate, the press were telling themselves that a Cameron comeback would be the story. I would love to see the news schedules from yesterday’s morning conferences at the Sun, Times, Mail, Express and Telegraph. I think we all know the story they wanted.

Cameron did better than a week ago, but not by much and from a low base.

Over on the Cleggmania wing of the media, they wanted a different sort of story … Clegg wins again. The Guardian is leading the way on that one.

But buried in their reporting of last night’s debate were some interesting findings in the ICM poll done after the debate. 
1.  Who would be best PM?  GB 35%, Cameron 33% and Clegg 26%.

2.  On the same question amongst C1’s GB 39 v DC 27% and Clegg 26%, and C2s  GB 39, DC 33 and NC 22.

3.  On who would make the right decisions ins difficult times  GB 43%, DC 34% and NC, 18%.

4.  47% of all voters think DC is more spin than substance, 54% of C1 voters believe that.

5.  On decisiveness GB now leads DC 38 v33 and Clegg at 25.

What it says to me is that as this campaign goes on, substance can win over style.

I have just watched GB make a susbtantial serious speech on the future of the economy. I am now watching David Cameron kiss Philip Green’s bum and trot out a few economic platitudes, and more hung parliament processology.

*** Buy The Blair Year online and raise cash for Labour

  • Chris lancashire

    I’m beginning to think you’re losing it. There is a difference between spin and fantasy and you’ve just crossed the line.
    At the very best for Gordo it was a three way tie. And as for percentages – 80% of our European partners believe Gordon either had no effect on or made the recession worse (FT poll today).

  • Luke

    I agree, I’m not sure which was more skewed: the polls themselves or their interpretation by both the right and liberals.

    I did hear from my local MP something connecting YouGov, Ashcroft and using polls to influence not just reflect opinion, it might be in “Smell the Coffee” but it seems clear that polls are being used in this way, I wonder if there is biased methodology behind YouGov, they always seem to favor the Tories.

  • Nick


    Surely you are picking up just some of the feedback from Labour candidates on the doorstep ? Of course you are. You know as well as anybody that the Labour vote is collapsing, and your activists /canvassers are incredibly thin on the ground. As a devotee of political strategy you will also know the reasons for this. Firstly, that Labour has a spectacularly bad leader, whom the electorate made a negative decision about many months ago. Secondly that Labour has no clear message or narrative. The sole premise of their election campaign seems to be “we got you into this mess, and are thus the most experienced and can get you out of it”. It is laughable.There is no optimism.

    Another fact from canvassing is that the vast majority of “undecideds” are dallying between Conservative and Lib Dem. Labour are once again nowhere. People have made up their minds. The most common comment I have heard on the doorstep is about the Prime Minister, and can be summed up as a variation of “I don’t like him”. That is a very, very high obstacle for any Party to overcome, let alone one defending an illegal war and a record economic slump.

    Watch out for some surprising Labour defeats on election night.

  • ollie

    I saw your performance on sky news last night – and to say you’re in total denial is an understatement.

    Brown’s finished, no matter how you cut it – unless you’re suggesting a Labour MAJORITY is likely – and it is not.

    I do hope Labour are crushed – I would, in fact, rather see a sixth form prefect like Clegg as PM than a demented, lying sociopath like Brown.

    Hitler, Goebbels, Goring, Himmler – Brown, Mandelscum, McBride, Campbell.

  • Graham Jones

    Do you want four more years of Gordon Brown?




  • Alex

    Sorry Alastair. I want to belive the story about “Dave won” 2hrs before the debate. But you have to name the journalist or the broadcaster, otherwise it’s just an insider tale at best and a rumour at worst.

    Will you name them?

  • Graham Jones

    In case anyone has ever wondered, why YouGov would prove the moon was made of cheese, if the Tories and Murdoch wanted us to believe it, might be interested to know that YouGov CEO and co-founder, Nadhim Zahawi, is standing as a Tory candidate in Stratford-on-Avon.
    If the Tories and Murdoch don’t like the polls, they just make them up.

  • May

    Hi Alastair,
    I thought GB won the argument by a mile last night. I wonder tho’ if people remember they vote for a Party — thus if you prefer DC you get the Tory Party. If you prefer NC you get the Lib Dems(who?). If you prefer GB you get the Labour Party.
    And remember the Labour Party is best for all. The Tory Party is best for an exclusive some!

  • Patrick James

    I think Gordon Brown has been absolutely right to stick to substance and to disregard flimflam.

    On 6 May substance will be what matters.

    Gordon Brown is winning on what really counts whereas Cameron and Clegg are scoring points on presentation and style.


    “he said it just after 6pm, well before the debate took place.”

    I had a bet with my wife BEFORE the debate started that The Sun’s headline would be “The Cam-Back Kid.” And lo and behold.

    No doubt in my mind that GB won comfortably with Clegg second and Cameron a poor third. Virtually the only time he mentioned any policy was when he made it up on the hoof re eye tests.

  • dc

    I agree, GB did well last night on the debate. I think the tories are pure hypocrisy talking of trying to instill fear in people. Their whole mantra lately has been the country will collapse if a hung parliament happens?! and even on question time the loon of a foreign correspondent from the mail used the bosnian war as a case in point of what can happen with coalitions. totally off her rocker!

    i think that during the economy debate next wekk GB should focus on this ‘jobs tax’ because to fund it they need to renegotiate contracts which will inevitably effect jobs and by their own calculations 2 billion will come from not reducing public sector recruitment which will affect 40-50,000 jobs… jobs tax? the tories propose a jobs cut!

    they are a liability!

  • Steve Brundish

    The media have not mentioned just how important the debate result was for Labour. With Clegg about to dip in the polls (after taking some flack from the Tory press,DC and GB)Labour could not afford the Lib Dem support to slip to Cameron and it didnt. The next week will likely decide the elcetion. If Labour stays within 4 points of Cameron and Clegg stays at 25 plus Gordon Brown will be the next PM. So it looks like substance may yet triumph over style (contray to what the media have been telling us for the last couple of weeks).

  • kayode Olatuyi

    DC scored full marks in his opening statement “Since last week’s debate, it is clear the country wants a change, the question is what change…blah blah blah”. That was clever double stab emphasising his change mantra and cautioning that NC is not the messiah. He also scored full marks for his reply to GB winter fuel allowance and the pointed demand for an apology for misrepresentation.
    But that is as far as it goes. He was lightweight in his policy argument. It seemed he couldn’t make up his mind whether to stick to mere words and passion or rely on the hard facts and policy. In the process, his message of hope was not there. He came third by my reckoning.

  • Robert Jackson


    The process of using polling to promote a political view is known as “Push Polling”.

    At simplest it involves asking a skewy question, at worst it is in the form of a flagrant horrible lie about a candidate or party followed by “do you support that?”.

    Dirty dirty politics.

    Interesting that Lynton Crosby is floating about again – the Australian mastermind who came up with Michael Howard’s vile campaign in 2005.

  • Carol Brown

    In the next debate Gordon Brown should bring up a list of good things that Cameron has voted AGAINST. Did Cameron vote against the minimum wage ? sure start ? winter fuel allowance ? there must be lots of things. I think Gordon Brown should attack both Cameron and Clegg from the LEFT to prevent too many labour voters switching to lib dem.

  • dc

    been reading an article, probably common knowledge, but i think we know why the tory shadow chancellor will not protect the schools budget… it will not affect his kids! they attend private schools.

    still out for the rich their proposed tax cut is actually a jobs cut in the region of 40,000…but that wont affect them either!

  • allan sayers

    On substance and feel GB won hands down. I think whatever happens labour should work more closely withthe Lib Dems if only to feel that we are doing it for the whole country. The Tories cannot get in again because no one is dum enough such a script again. It was easy to make people forget before but we all need to remember and tell others what it was like under hte tory bafoons. Osborne has never had a real job and we are expected to have him as chancellor. What a ridiculous joke. It’s all been a jolly good wheeze up till know…. London voted in an idiot, more to spank livingstone than anything else, and we nearly get fooled by Murdoch and the polls to let cameron in. After all the spin and bull we get a serious man who can do a seriously good job. Gordon Brown. I have built up my businesss under a Labour government and bring 90 per cent of our income from overseas. We pay taxes and are proud to live in a Great Britain.. Not a broken britain as the tories would have you believe..


    Gordon did reasonable well but I hope he really goes for David Cameron in the next one. Many votes to be had yet from public sector workers as Cameron will definitely use public sector pensions to address the deficit. He mentioned it in a list of three items tonight on the Jeremy Paxman interview.
    On equality and abortion … he is on really shaky territory!

  • Andrew Williams

    I think you may be on to something there. Amongst my late thirty something mates, the lack of polish was almost a relief. They are also starting to resent the lack of any discussion of policy in the media.

  • Hermann Djoumessi

    This is disgrace! Cameron conned the business community…it was live on 5 Live this Friday eve. His future shadow minister couldn’t guaranty whether they’d raised the VAT…I’m telling you that’s where the 6 Billions of NiSC raise are…It’s a VAT time-bomb waiting to explode…Now which one of the two will harm business? VAT rise in your cornershop or a hike in NISC next year and public jobs & private public contractors having their budget ring-fenced?

  • Andrew Williams

    Good on Milliband for a full-bloodied response to Clegg and co. Maybe the threat Lib Dems poses to Labour – potentially a more existential threat than the Tories – has given Labour the focus they need to come together. For the next debate Brown needs to not worry so much about smiling and relax People are starting to warm to him.

  • Filiz

    Clegg is doing well, he is holding his own and considering most people didn’t even know who he was, all the publicity is good. I for one want a hung parliament.

    GB said that the City and others in the financial sector supported him, or words to that effect, the same people who asked him to de-regulate the banks which got us into the mess we are in now. Every time GB lays out his plans for the future, the only words which pass my mind are ‘you have been in power for 13 years, why haven’t you done it already’.

  • Hughes.

    I watched that speech too. Gordon seemed to be mostly concerned that time-travelling Tories were plotting to go back and take over the Government in 2008 and ruin Gordon’s awesome “print more money” and “give the banks a shitload of tax-payers cash to spaff on bonuses” schemes. Quite amazing the amount of time he spent talking about things that didn’t happen that would have definitely been awful if they had happened. I thought he was “in the future business”? If I had a past record like that to trade on, I’d be in the “future business” too.

    Still, glad you have so much faith in GB; quite aside from the great shape our economy and employment figures are in, he’s really done amazing things for Labour’s electoral fortunes. Amazing things.

  • Filiz

    Just read that David Milliband has said that they have been punished enough for the Iraq war. Er, I don’t think so, the lies and spin and doggy dossiers which lead to the invasion of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, British soldiers will never be forgiven nor forgotten.

  • Filiz

    i should have said that the deaths of hundreds of thousands Iraqis, British and American soldiers on their hands.

  • Filiz

    [QUOTE] The only problem is – he said it just after 6pm, well before the debate took place.

    What he meant was that in the media bubble surrounding the debate, the press were telling themselves that a Cameron comeback would be the story. I would love to see the news schedules from yesterday’s morning conferences at the Sun, Times, Mail, Express and Telegraph. I think we all know the story they wanted.[QUOTE]

    And you, Mr Campbell would know all about ‘media bubble’. You did enough spin in your time….and you are still trying. Bad call though, Elvis impersonator. Laughing*