Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Brown wins election

Google ‘Brown wins election’ at the moment and you get 20.6 million results, which is rather more than most Brits would have expected to see in 2010, when our Gordon finally faces the voters. It’s also about 20 million more than you get for ‘And the lights all went out in Massachusetts’, incidentally, which is of course how most liberal Americans would view the Republican victory in Teddy Kennedy’s old seat.

Or is it? If you take a look at what Tom Jensen of the US pollsters Public Policy Polling has to say on the subject, it seems that Scott Brown only won because most voters thought he was a liberal. According to PPP’s research, ‘Among voters who thought that Scott Brown was either a liberal or a moderate, he won 79-18. Among voters who thought that he was a conservative [the Democratic candidate] won 63-32.’

The lesson there – that the right wing wins when it presents itself as moderate – hasn’t been lost on David Cameron’s Tories, who will continue to present a saccharine face to the rest of us until they’ve got their wellied feet through the door of No 10.

Meanwhile, the man with the biggest egg on his face over the Massachusetts result is the BBC’s Mark Mardell. He stood firm in the face of contrary polling evidence and the views of most commentators on the spot, with his opinion that ‘I don't actually think [the Democrats] will lose the seat’ in an article written in the very week that they did.

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