Alex Massie

The Uselessness of Meaningless Polls

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Sunny Hundal says this YouGov approval tracker is "the graph that has the coalition worried". Up to a point. It would be worrying if there were an election this autumn. But there isn't and there won't be. If, as the coalition hopes, we're four and a half years away from an election then this polling, while momentarily diverting, is essentially meaningless.

And while a +1 approval rating is hardly a matter for rejoicing one could argue that it's surprising the government remains in the black given the sloppiness of much of its political - as opposed to policy - operation. Eventually these numbers will slip into the red but I hazard they'd already be there if, say, the election had gone a little differently and we'd ended up with a Labour-Lib Dem cohabitation. 

Regardless, there's a limit to how useful daily polling can be at this stage of the political cycle. Indeed, it's also a distraction that, while fun for the press, only matters much if ministers start paying too much attention to it.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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