Liars, damn liars, and their statistics

This entry was posted on
Monday, April 18th, 2005
10:01 am and is filed
under UK General Election 2005.

ITV – Opinion polls put Labour in front

Guardian – Opinion polls suggest Labour lead

Bloomberg – Blair Leads Conservatives in Five Out of Five Polls

Now, a few interesting nuggets for you…

Independent – Revealed: Blair deal to hand power to Brown: Under Mr Blair, Labour’s lead remains unchanged since our last poll, just before the election campaign began. If Mr Brown were leader, Labour would go up to 45 per cent, the Conservatives down to 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats to 16 per cent; 26 per cent of Lib Dem voters say they would switch to Labour if the Chancellor took over.

(I love the ‘deal’ that’s presented here, BTW – where Blair goes but New Labour stays.)

Guardian – War: the great unknown among election issues: In this election, the war is everywhere and nowhere. Officially, it’s nowhere. Last week’s Guardian poll showed a measly 3% of voters citing the Iraq conflict as the main factor in determining their choice. Neither the government nor the opposition talk about it much. In contrast with recent elections in Spain and the United States, the two main parties were on the same side over Iraq. So while Jose Maria Aznar and George Bush were pounded by their electoral challengers over the conflict, Tony Blair enjoys a free pass from his chief rival, Michael Howard. Iraq is not exactly the lead item in any of the main party manifestos. And yet, take a look at the Conservatives’ latest cinema ad. It shows a grainy shot of Mr Blair with Mr Bush, and there is no mistaking the memory that image is meant to evoke. Talk to the candidates themselves, of whatever stripe, and many will testify that Iraq is raised on the doorstep more often, and with greater intensity, than those headline poll figures would suggest.

The UK Today – Begging: Received a very entertaining telephone call from the Labour Party last night… She seemed pleasantly surprised when I said that I’d love to make a significantly larger donation, but her voice fell when I informed her that any such donation was dependant on Tony Blair standing down before polling day. Apparantly I wasn’t the first person to impose such a condition, and I doubt that I’ll be the last.

Europhobia – Tactical Voting: Lest we forget, the best the Tories managed in today’s polls was 1 point behind Labour. But the way the first past the post system and the current make-up of the constituencies work, even if they get an equal share of the popular vote, Labour will still be returned with a majority. The best the Tories have managed to do in the polls so far was a one-off aberration which saw them 5 points ahead about two weeks ago. That’s 7 points less than they need to safely form a government. So can we now please shut up with the scare tactics?

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