Everyone is pooing on polls these days, saying they are all terribly wrong so why should we listen to them. Only they aren’t really all that incorrect when you examine them closely. On Brexit, the telephone polls got it pretty close to bang on, while in America they said Clinton would be ahead in the popular vote by 2% and it looks like she will win that by around 2%. So I think people getting angry at the polls should relax a little – and the people now saying they are completely wrong are well, completely wrong.
This comes into focus as ICM produces a general voting intention poll that is catastrophically bad for Labour. Not only are the Tories 16 points ahead (while we remind ourselves that Labour were 9% up on them at this stage in the last parliament, a whopping 25-point disparity), they are now ahead with every possible category of voter save 18-24 year olds. With 25-34 year olds, the Tories have a 5 point lead; with Scottish voters, an 11-point lead (with the SNP in the actual poll lead, obviously, but still); with DE voters, incredibly, a 1 point lead, giving them supremacy amongst every socio-economic grade. This is brutal beyond description for Labour.
I can see why so many Corbynistas want to believe that polls have no value whatsoever – they would have to face the electoral meltdown facing Labour and deal with it in some way otherwise. Better to think that the polls are all wrong and that Corbyn will be triumphantly be carried to Number 10 on the shoulders of the people’s democratic revolution.
I don’t think Corbyn himself minds all that much, incidentally. I suspect that he would be very pleased if Labour went down to 50-odd MPs – at least they’d all be “true believers”, right? The irony of Labour trying to become the Lib Dems circa-2005 should be lost on no one, but at the moment, it is slipping by pretty much everyone on the Left.
I dread to think what happens after this all faces the moment of truth at a general election. The optimistic side of me wants to think that the majority of those shouting for the hard left see the error of their ways, look around at the Brexity Trump world in front of them and realise they need to get with it at long last. Yet the pessimistic side of me fears that they will go further into their shell and stick with Corbyn. If that’s the case, I don’t know what it will take to save liberalism from its increasingly crazy left shank.