Monday, September 25, 2006

Gordon and the Polls

A Guardian ICM poll reinforces what Politaholic has argued in several earlier posts. Brown should not try to present himself as an all-singing-all-dancing nice guy but should play to his strengths. One voter said: “They should stop trying to jazz him up…and let him be dour”. The poll backed Brown as “the strongest, if not the most likeable” leader. Alan Johnson, by contrast, is seen as a lightweight. One voter said he is the sort of person who is likely to be seen “ at a drink after work” but who would “leave early” (Oh dear). Reid is seen as a “hard man” and a potential “strong leader”. However Frank Lunz’s research (in this morning’s Times and tonight on Newsnight) reveals Brown has three problems: he is not a fresh face; he is Scottish; and there is a perception that he “knifed his own leader”. One could add, I suppose, that he is not seen as especially likeable. Johnson and Milburn are pretty much damp squibs, according to Lunz. Reid emerges as the favoured candidate; seen as “tough” and “strong” and admired for his populist views vis-à-vis the detention of terrorist suspects. What are we to make of the fact that Brown comes out on top in the ICM poll but Reid comes out on top in Lunz’s research? I suspect a lot depends on the questions asked and the methods used. Interesting that in both Johnson does not, and that Reid does, rate highly. Perhaps that is because Johnson is less well-known to the wider public; if he became a Leadership candidate that might change. On the other hand maybe the advantages of likeability are over-estimated (was Thatcher - even to those deluded individuals who admired her - actually likeable?).


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