Sunday, May 21, 2006

Spin, Damn Spin and Labour Polling Data

If the figures published in today's Sunday Times really were presented to Labour MSPs earlier in the month they may well be deluding themselves. While the figures are bad for Labour they do not, on first inspection, appear to be as bad as those publised by Professer Curtice earlier this week there is some doubt to their accuracy.

The figures translate into the following seats (Curtice's figures in brackets)

Labour: 43 (35)
SNP: 37 (33)
Lib Dems 28 (27)
Tories: 15 (21)
Others 6 (13)

The problems I detect in the Labour estimates are twofold. Firstly while they are acknowleding that there vote will be down on both constituecy and list vote they appear to be overestimating the effect this will give them on the list. The reason I'm saying this is because of their short changing the other parties. Labour are right to be concerned about the twin threats of the SNP and Liberal Democrats they would be foolish to write of all the smaller parties quite so non-challently. With the exception of the SSP the other minor parties are not showing a sign of not being able to replicate their performance from 2003.

Labour have released these figures to talk up their case ahead of next May's elections. They have acknowledged that things are bad, also they know they can't fool people who know that the SNP and Lib Dems will be big gainers. However, they have massaged the non-headline figures to give their own vote the appearance of being retrievable eleven months out. Therefore personally I'm viewing these figures with a a hefty pinch of salt.

So while the Labour spokesman said they will not be commenting on or discussing this information but the comment was made by the article. Meanwhile the discussion is going on; behind closed dooors for now, just wait for the next strategically spun leek.

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