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John Rentoul

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.

"The Independent's must-read man" - Daniel Finkelstein

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I missed Stan Greenberg (right), the US pollster who worked for Gordon Brown in the 2005 election, at the Royal Society of Arts yesterday. But this is what he said, according to Matthew Taylor, formerly of Tony Blair's office, who now runs the RSA:

He had conducted a comprehensive poll of voters in the days immediately after the election [and found that] Labour would almost certainly now be leading a centre left coalition Government if it had had another leader (Stan explicitly confirmed this).

Too many in the Labour Party are not only relieved to be in opposition but deserve to be.


Would Labour have won with Balls or Harman leading?
blairsupporter wrote:
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 at 11:22 pm (UTC)
Just posted this, more or less, at Matthew Taylor's blog.

I'm sorry but I just don't get this thing about skipping generations and/or everyone having to be 43/44 to lead a party/country.

The present 43 year-olds, CamerClegg don't impress me, and are certainly not the 'answer to everything' which as we all know is 42 (according to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy')

So since, by that criterion, they're all too old for the jobs, and D Miliband at 44 is approaching ancient, why don't we forget the 40+ rule and skip a generation? Skip forward, not backwards. We could then go for REAL proven experience.

I also asked Matthew if Greenberg had voiced an opinion on how Labour would have done with the REAL leader still in place. Blair, of course. Or did he just mean that ANY other leader would have won? I find the second proposition iffy. I don't think Labour would have won under Balls, for instance, or even Harman.
Re: Would Labour have won with Balls or Harman leading?
blairsupporter wrote:
Thursday, 20 May 2010 at 01:12 pm (UTC)
Just noticed today that Blair was less popular than Brown according to the Greenberg poll of 6th May. I wonder if those polled would still say the same, now that Brown lost it for Labour and for a chance of a coalition.

Perhaps they would. One of the reasons I am SO pleased not to be an elected public servant or even a prospective public servant. If this is really how they see things, there's little hope. Perhaps I was right to have lost my respect for the voter some time ago.

From Jim Pickard at the FT:

Fascinating piece on the blog of Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA (and part of our election panel last month). In it, he reveals that Stan Greenberg, pollster to Clinton, Blair and others, carried out research just before May 6 which showed that Labour’s vote would have risen under a new leader; in which case we could now be under a different government. (hat-tip John Rentoul).

The Miliband brothers must, surely, be kicking themselves that they refused to join the many rebellions of recent years.

But one part of the research jumped out at me: It shows that the public now dislike Tony Blair even more than Brown. The relevant bit is on page 15 of this slideshow. While 60 per cent of voters were “cool” to Blair and only 25 per cent warm, Brown had a slightly better 55 per cent cool, 33 per cent warm ratio.

In other words, those return performances by a tanned and smiling Blair - designed to tee up Labour support - may have done more harm than good.


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