Thursday 30 September 2010

Public will give Ed M's new case for Labour a fair hearing

Ed Miliband will sensibly place little weight on the 'morale boost' of Labour's first opinion poll lead for three years with ICM and the Guardian, reported in Friday's newspaper, where his party lead the Conservatives by 37% to 35%, with the LibDems on 15%.

A central part of the new leader's message to his party is that they should not underestimate the scale of the journey to reconnect with the British public. It will be important to keep emphasising this if the party is ahead in the opinion polls for much of the next year.

A YouGov/Sun poll yesterday asked some more detailed questions. (YouGov, 29/9 Ed Miliband as leader).

In short, the public do not know much about Ed Miliband, but they are certainly willing to give him a hearing.

43% think he will do well as Labour leader, and 23% badly. It is a bit odd that so many people are already prepared to express opinions not just on that, but also more detailed questions: whether he will be serious about the deficit (yes say 53% to 23%, with 24% not sure), whether he is optimistic or pessimistic (27% find him generally optimistic; 12% generally pessimistic; 23% neither while a sensible 37% are "not sure"). So Ed M shoots ahead with a +15 optimism rating with David Cameron lagging on +10%!

If the public can't be expected to have much yet on which to base opinions of Ed Miliband, their answers to questions about New Labour's record and legacy are better informed, making this perhaps the most significant finding of the poll.

Ed Miliband also criticised several of the things the last Labour government did while it was in power. Do you think he was right or wrong to do so?

Right - the last Labour government made mistakes and it is important for Ed Miliband to recognise and admit this: 71% (Tory 77, Labour 78, LibDem 65, ABC1 71%, C2DE 69%).

Wrong - Ed Miliband was part of the last govenment and it is a mistake to criticise his own party's record: 18%

Similarly, 56% say he was right to distance himself from the war in Iraq by saying it was "wrong", while 26% disagree.


The enduring argument between the Labour leader and some of the right-wing newspapers and commentators could turn out to be how often - and how ferociously - they want to attack him when he chooses to make Labour arguments which the right's gut tells it are outside the 'mainstream' centre-ground, and yet which have the support of broad public majorities - across party, class and income group.

In the YouGov poll, majorities of Conservative and LibDem voters are part of strong public coalitions backing the following policies:

A higher levy on the banks 74% to 9%, with 71-17% of Tories and 73-6% of LibDems joining 87-5% of Labour supporters.

Making people who can afford it pay more in taxation: 66% to 19%, with 53-35% of Conservatives and 76-13% among LibDems, alongside 84-8 Labour support.

Giving more employment rights to temporary workers employed through agencies: 61% to 18% support - support by 51-31% among Conservatives and 68-10% among LibDems, alongside 76-11% among Labour.

Introducing a higher minimum wage: 72% to 15%, with 59% to 30% among Conservative voters, and 68-12% among LibDems.

This does not mean he should or will do everything mildly leftish that sounds right to most of the public. There may be other perfectly sound principled, policy or political strategy reasons not to in any particular case. But their public unpopularity is not in itself the veto point.

But it does looks like it may have to be "Green Ed" rather than "Red Ed" who first says something that a majority of the public do not support.

1 comment:

Newmania said...

Red Ed is not allowed ( Oh Come ON !!! ). The respectful use of Rufescent Pubescent Scarlet Harlot or Ruby Booby may be acceptable .