Saturday, May 12, 2007

The ficklest of masters

Blair's popularity over his 10 years, as measured by Ipsos Mori, tells an interesting story of dips and troughs and the expected long term decline that every prime minister would receive. But does this mean anything? Apart from support for a leader seems to increase in both times of crisis and triumph, not a lot on its own. It only means anything when compared to expected satisfaction under the competition. Clearly in 2001 and 2005 Blair may not have scored 50% in the satisfaction ratings but he was liked more than the alternative. Interesting that his lowest score came days before his departure, not post Hutton or the Fuel Tax protests, it shows that perceptions are cumulative and no one event can turn public opinion, it is a tide that leaders surf.

2 comments:

Snatch said...

I would say that it means sod all!

Darren G. Lilleker said...

Public opinion never means absolutely nothing, at the very worst it is the reflection of a general mood that is related to the immediate context under which the poll is taken. At best it is evidence of widespread beleifs and attitudes.

I think this reflects both. Clearly events effect the perception of the leader, and their response to moments of national and international crisis also have an impact, but there is also the general mood which can mediate the extent of satisfaction. So currently it maybe the case that people feel warmer towards Blair due to his statement of resignation and his various media appearances, this has led to a marginal rise in satisfaction, but that is governed by the general anti-Blair feeling that has been building over the last few years and probably in reality since he was elected and the initial honeymoon was over.