Blair’s speech: public perceptions

During the week we missed a couple of stories on how the public perceived Blair’s speech.

Firstly, the BBC’s perception panel, which we have reported on before, during Lib Dem conference, showed several interesting trends, the most significant one of which was probably on the NHS.

The passage of Blair’s speech where he talked about investment in the health service, which he concluded was being “rebuilt, not privatised” got this reaction from Labour, Tory and non-aligned (floating) voters respectively:

Tony Blair

The red spikes are positive reactions, while anything below the line is negative. In short, Labour voters seem proud of the government’s record on the NHS but swing voters are actually more hostile to Blair’s stance on the NHS than even Tories are. This could be because they disagreed with what Blair was saying, or (more likely) that they just didn’t believe him. Either way, given how central the NHS is to any Labour platform, this is something that should ring alarm bells.

This should come with a slight health warning – the BBC’s claim that 50% of voters are unaligned seems like a very high estimate, even given the increasing partisan dealignment of the past decade. But the findings are striking nonetheless.

Other findings showed men reacting far more favourably to Blair’s comments on the Lebanon and terrorism than women, and, in a result that surprised the BBC’s commentators, younger people reacting favourably to the passage on immigration and law and order while the middle-aged gave it the thumbs down.

Also interesting was the Populus message meter – the results are available here and you can do the poll yourself here.  

As an open access poll it is not at all representative, but it has broken down the results by party voting intention. 

There were big upward spikes at Blair’s gag about Cherie not running off with the bloke next door, though the only thing that impressed “Other” voters was when he said it was time for him to leave.

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