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If LAB’s polling gap with CON had throughout been 6% worse than it was Miliband would have been replaced

June 1st, 2015

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YouGov monthly averages 2013-15

What kept him in place were LAB’s good voting intention numbers

The table above shows the YouGov monthly averages from its daily polls for the period 2013-2015. These numbers are being highlighted to make a statement about all the pollsters – that for much of the last parliament Labour enjoyed substantial leads and it was only in recent months that this started to decline.

These voting intention shares were being recorded in poll and after poll even though Ed’s personal ratings remained very poor and, of course, his party trailed badly on issues relating to the economy.

The general view was that by polling day the numbers would have sorted themselves out. But as we all know that did not happen and all the surveys published beforehand got it badly wrong.

All of this is making me wonder about the counterfactual. What would have happened if the polls had actually been showing LAB in a 6% worse position in relation to the Tories throughout? Could that have led to Ed not staying the course and another leader chosen instead?

At several stages there were suggestions that this was being discussed with at one point Yvette Cooper being tipped as the likely replacement and at another point Andy Burnham.

My guess is that if the voting intention numbers had been 6% worse a leadership change would taken place in 2011 or 2014 and who knows we could have had a different general election outcome.

The polls saved Ed and helped Dave to his majority.

Mike Smithson