Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Through the media lens

Of course, it matters that Labour will not have the backing of the Sun at the next general election - even if their 'verdict' is based on a wilful distortion of Labour's record. (100,000 more primary pupils each year get good reading or maths scores, for example, and the proportion gaining five good GCSEs including English and Maths is a third up on 1997. And since those improvements reflect differential improvements in different social classes, ethnic groups and schools, they cannot be lazily attributed to 'grade inflation'.)

But it is also the case that the support of the paper has been lukewarm since the 2005 poll and virtually non-existent since Tony Blair stepped down. But what is perhaps as interesting is to see the reaction that ordinary people who actually watched Gordon Brown's speech yesterday had to it, before they were told what to think by their newspapers.

YouGov have been doing some interesting conference polling, and they found a remarkably strong instant reaction among those who saw the speech. 63% of those who watched it rated it a 'good' or 'excellent' speech. 50% of people thought the PM was doing well as PM and 51% rated him a capable leader. This shows how important it is that Gordon Brown and his ministers find more ways to get their message across to voters through live broadcast events, unmediated by the commentariat. Cue lots of TV debates, then.


Zokko said...

'The Sun' started out in the '60's as a Labour-supporting paper, then switched to Thatcher's Tories in the '70's, reverted to Labour in 1997, now its backing the Tories once again. Surely no rag that's changed political allegiances so many times can have much credibility with readers?

Murdoch and Cameron deserve each other.

Mr McGeachie said...

I note the sprinkling of a few statistics but after reading 'Damn lies & statistics' I'm somewhat suspicious of stats used especially in a political context. Trouble is I don't think joe public (& that includes me) really know what way to turn - there is just too much noise drowning out the facts.

Josh W said...

Word of warning:

The difference between those who saw it and not may have other correlates, or in other words, people who already support him are more likely to watch his speeches.

How to account for that? Ideally you'd look for change, but you could also check if the distributions of the polls of the whole country and that segment are compatible given their relative sizes and coverage of the population. If they are not, ie the support of those who watched is too wide to be discounted as fringe support, then that could imply a shift like you say.

Anyway I'd love to see a TV debate, less pointless "prime ministers questions" style repetition more actual critique of each other's analyses and values would be great.