The Importance of the Leaders

The announcement of the television debate has focused more attention than ever on the party leaders, and Mike Smithson at Political Betting comments on the difference between the leader polls and the party polls. He is right to a large extent - attitudes amongst voters to specific leaders can be crucial, and is even, for many voters, their principal reason for casting their vote in a particular way. Smithson cites the Major/Kinnock comparison of 1992 as being a better guide than the horrendously inaccurate polls that had been predicting a Labour victory. In 1979, however, Jim Callaghan scored consistently higher than Margaret Thatcher for like-ability, but still lost.


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