A Twitter account, @JeremyCorbyn4PM, published a Tweet which has been widely circulated. I have reproduced the screenshot below. The thrust of the Tweet is to defend recent poor polling results of the Labour Party, to suggest it is the fault of the “Coup” rather than a result of Jeremy Corbyn’s failures. It states in terms “We were polling level with the Tories before the coup: anyone who sets any store by these things should place the blame at the door of the plotters.”
Here is their statement in full (as an interesting aside the Twitter account makes it plain they don’t speak on behalf of the official Jeremy Corbyn camp or the Labour Party, and that in itself may reveal part of the problem with the Labour Party at the moment….)
Is this a fair point made on behalf of Corbyn? His supporters have certainly run with it, Re-Tweeting it far and wide with the glib abandon of children in a playground singing about people sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
A group called “bloc” made a similar point on Facebook on 27th July when they published this graph with their accompanying commentary blaming the plotters and extolling Corbyn’s success. Here is another pretty screenshot for you
So there we have it. Pretty conclusive. Jeremy was totally smashing it and it is only those pesky Establishment types in the PLP that have ruined the crest of success the Labour Party were going to ride all the way to General Election glory in 2020.
Save for the fact that it does not show this at all. In polls from 18th April 2016 to 10th July by ICM, Opinium, YouGov, Ipsos and BMG the mode result for the Labour (the one that occurs most frequently) is 30%. The mean polling result (the average of all the polls) is 32%. The range is between 29% and 35%. For the Conservatives the mode is 34% and the mean is 37.8%. In 25 polls in that time there has been one tie and one poll, on 26th April, which put Labout ahead.
My analysis pretty much matches bloc’s pretty graph above. The Conservatives have, by and large, been ahead in the polls. Now the polls do not tell the whole story, and this is where it gets bad for Corbyn.
More recent polls put the Conservatives way ahead. Of course the discord in the Labour Party and the apparent inability to organize an election in a democractic body is not helping that situation. The Conservatives are also benefiting, however, from the new manager bounce that even teams facing relegation suffer from. The public like a new leader because they have not had time to mess it up yet. So it is undoubtedly the case that Theresa May is having a good time in the polls.
It is actually the polls from before the infighting that tell the depressing tale. Through April, May and into June the Conservatives were at their weakest. They were divided with Cameron and Osbourne pitted against Johnson and Gove. They had infighting galore. The Prime Minister was a lame duck PM. Then the country and the economy was thrown into turmoil by the Referendum Result and the Prme Minister resigned. Was Corbyn able to take advantage of the chaos, infighting and instability in the Goverment to take a clear lead? Did he woo the swinging voter?
The answer is, without doubt, no he was not able to. The Labour Party poll figures remain, by and large, fairly level. A Government that the public should dislike because of where we are in the cycle of politics, whom should be damaged by the severity of austerity and who were a wounded dog in the pre and post referendum period barely had a glove landed on them by Corbyn.
That was before plotters. That was before the coup.
That is why Labour would not win a General Election under Corbyn. Rallies and popularity in sections of social media do not win General Elections. Being popular amongst your core voters will not win a General Election, if it did then we have more to fear from Britain First than just their hateful ideology.
Polls are wrong, of course they are. They have statistical anomalies and weaknesses. Nonetheless I am more than happy that they tell me more about the reaction to Corbyn than they do about the “coup”, particularly when you stop to think for a minute about the fact this was the time when making gains was going to be at its easiest.
Get this wrong and we will have 8 years wishing that we had got it right.