Steerpike

Andrew Cooper bizarrely sets bar for Cameron: win referendum by 10 points

Andrew Cooper bizarrely sets bar for Cameron: win referendum by 10 points
Text settings
Comments

In last year's general election, Andrew Cooper was left red-faced after his firm Populus's final 'prediction' of a 0.5 per cent chance of David Cameron winning a Tory majority turned out to be somewhat, em, pessimistic. Since then, Lord Cooper of 0.5 per cent has been on a PR offensive in an attempt to rebrand himself as the next Lynton Crosby -- helped by his pal and former flatmate Lord Fink.

So, with another election result looming, one could be forgiven for thinking Cooper may wish to be a bit more circumspect this time. It seems not. Today Populus has sent round its final poll for the EU referendum, showing that Remain should win by an astonishing ten points.

Mr S is amazed that Cooper -- the official pollster for Remain -- has set the bar so high for Cameron. Even if it's right: since when does the official pollster of a campaign ever make its prediction public? Especially such an optimistic prediction. Why such erratic behaviour? It puts a lot of expectation - and pressure - on Cameron.

Cooper is clearly hoping an accurate prediction will help wash away the memory of his baleful misreading of the general election (and his denouncement of Cameron's campaign as a "prolonged exhibition of insanity"). So is his next step trying to get back into Downing St? Watch this space (and Lord Fink's columns).

UPDATE Given that Leave won by 4 points, Cooper's prediction of a 10-point victory for Remain now has historical value: it shows how badly the "Remain" camp misjudged the country. When the history of this referendum campaign is written, it will have to be asked why Cameron insisted that the bungling Cooper was entrusted with such a project. Perhaps a well-connected newspaper columnist will be able to enlighten us.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

Comments