LABOUR LEAD HALVES: Osborne bamboozles the voters as Balls remains both baffled and baffling.

ballswomenptnetGovernment unpopular on the simple issues, Opposition unconvincing on the fiscal economics

As one could’ve predicted, the stats-bending, drivel-emitting, bigged-up bollocks that has been pouring forth from the Conservative Party about the National Debt and the economy is starting to bear fruit: yesterday’s YouGov poll showed a slump in the Labour lead from 10% down to 4%. Furthermore, if one takes the average across all polls (a potentially dangerous game, as they have varying methodologies) the Tories and LibDems together – they’re supposed to be a Coalition, remember – the Government will get a higher popular vote than Labour next year. The reality is still that, with seats not votes being decisive, we’ll have a hung Parliament.

What’s fascinating about the new YouGov results, however, is that you can fool the people on macro things they don’t understand (like fiscal debt and economic imbalance) but not about things in their lives of which they have experience. In this latter area, things look very bad indeed for Camerlot.

Thus only 20% of people think Education Secretary Michael Gove is doing well in his job, but almost three times as many think he’s doing badly. And while 25% of people think David Cameron has responded well to the floods, 62% emphatically don’t. Encouragingly, a large majority (72%) of people think it is unacceptable for political parties to appoint their mates to watchdog jobs, and a substantial number (48%) think both parties are just a sleazy about it.

In short, give them a concrete, non-technical issue to consider, and the electorate remains pretty perceptive about how bonkers, useless and bent most politicians are. Where the Government is winning hands down, however, is in those ethereal, quackery and truth-bending areas like multinational accountancy, Budget jiggery-pokery, manipulation of real performance, and taxpayer support that go to make up the surreal world of global finance, and the neoliberal pursuit of profit at the expense of everyone and everything else.

Labour is in bad shape in this very same area. The Coalition is winning the arguments, but not on merit: it’s doing it with three-card tricks, smoke, and mirrors that the two Eds are failing miserably to deconstruct. So although 87% of Conservative supporters think the Government is handling the economy well and 85% of Labour devotees think they’re doing it harm, looked at across the total sample, with 41% saying Camerlot is doing well and 10% who don’t know, the extrapolation has to be that floaters don’t think the Opposition would be any better.

In fact, opinion about the economy per se is negative and unmoving:

yougoveconomyptnetThese are the numbers that really matter: 1 in 5 say things are OK, 1 in 2 say things are bad, and 1 in 3 say things are normal. Given the overall context of global mess, the new normal is neither good nor bad, but uncertain. However, when asked what sort of a fist the Tories are making of it, 2 in 5 say ‘pretty good’. The fact that what the Government is making of it is actually a heavily disguised horlicks matters not a jot: people don’t see through it, because on the whole they don’t understand it…and the Opposition seems to have no real alternative: Osborne says more cuts, Miliband says he’ll match them. The Tory Right says we’re still not lowering the deficit, Balls says he’ll wipe it out by 2020.

There is an unwritten sense in these numbers that a large majority of “undecided” people think Labour would be no better and probably a lot worse. That is a damning criticism of Ed Balls in particular, but it is surely a reflection of the fact that Miliband too shows no leadership or communications skills when it comes to forcing people’s eyes open on the Government scam. Both men are, in truth, lousy communicators. Labour needs a new leadership team, but they never change in midstream. Literally, the Party has never done it. So we’re still on course for another dead heat next year…unless things go totally pear-shaped at the macro level.

I still think there’s a good chance of that; but at the moment there is, as many of us keep on saying, no real Opposition in the UK. Most of it is already being organised by online pressure groups – hence the Government’s Gagging Bill to shut them up from May onwards.

Stay tuned.

Related from yesterday’s Slog: Whatever you do, don’t mention the Dead Parrot