Opinion polls are slippery things. They have an amazing ability to mirror the inclinations of the commissioner. Thus the various pollsters are currently reporting either a massive lead for the “No” faction in the Scottish referendum — or, in a different version, an effective dead-heat.
Nobody will know which is the more indicative, at least until this time next year. By which point, of course, all previous samplings will be historical and forgotten by all except nerds.
BREAKING: YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Tories and Labour neck and neck, tied on 36% each. UKIP 12%, LD 10%. Lab lost 14 point lead over a year.
Anthony Wells prudently subscribes;
I will obviously add all my usual caveats about any unusual poll – sure, it could be that the Tories have actually caught up with Labour after a couple of polls showing the lead down to three or four points… but just as likely that it’s just a bit of an outlier. It’s the trend that counts, so keep an eye over the next few days to see if there are more very small (or absent) Labour leads…
Even so, just before the Labour Conference,such a narrowing would seem a trifle … err … convenient.
Of all sources, Peter Oborne in (better believe it!) the Torygraph takes a more positive view of Miliband than most. His headline alone would put palpitations into the blue-rinses:
Ed Miliband is proving himself to be a brave and adroit leader
If Mr Miliband is remembered for nothing else, his stand on Syria changed the course of history
Oborne identifies two main “enemies” for Miliband:
His predicament can only be grasped once it is realised that he has two sets of very formidable enemies, linked but capable of operating independently. The first is the Murdoch newspaper empire, which will never forgive Mr Miliband’s pre-emptive strike in the phone-hacking affair.
Mr Miliband’s second set of enemies consists of Tony Blair and his followers. They did not much like his stance on phone-hacking, but their true concerns lie elsewhere. The Blairites cannot forgive Ed Miliband for defeating his brother David, Mr Blair’s chosen successor. Nor can they forgive his connection with Gordon Brown. Today’s Blairite attacks on Mr Miliband are thus a continuation of the bitter Blair/Brown feud.
Which deserves to be born in mind, when we reflect that both the YouGov/Sun poll and the excitable Mr Newton Dunn are in the employ of Rupert Murdoch.