If this was a graph of any market you’d be glued to it
Thursday, 6 May, 2010 Leave a comment
The last five years summed up in a graphic.
There is only one poll that matters – and that is tomorrow. But as a journalist who lives in the world of graphicised information I thought I would share this with you.
It is a graph showing the results of all the opinion polls taken since the last election, with the results for the three main Westminster parties only (Source: UK Polling Report).
Note: The horizontal axis is not consistent – there are more polls towards the end, so time stretches towards the right of the graph.
I’ve picked out what look to me like turning points, in hindsight. Fortunately some of them were nights that had us skedaddling along corridors with mobile phones wedged under our chins and plastic earpieces protruding from our collars, so we actually spotted their significance at the time. Others maybe not.
Cameron takes charge of the Conservatives; Brown takes over Labour and there is a bounce; then – massively significant with hindsight – there is the "wobble" over the October 2007 "election that never was".
I remember standing in the Newsnight studio that night and saying "there’s a wobble" – but you can only know how important things are much later.
The Lib Dems’ fortunes turn after Ming Campbell resigns, but only gradually. Labour gets a rebound at the start of the financial crisis but then loses it all and more. The rock-bottom day for them was the day James Purnell resigned, on the eve of the Euro-elections, bringing to an end a Spring season of cabinet disarray, accompanied by cross-party angst over expenses.
But the seismic shift moment is clear. For a week after the election is called the polls barely move. Then the first televised leaders debate happens, 15 April 2010.