Despite Ed Miliband's huffing and puffing, more voters trust Cameron on hacking
By Tim Montgomerie
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Yesterday we had YouGov's verdict on Hackgate. Tonight it's the turn of ComRes and the results are very similar.
Again we find strong support for Rebekah Brooks to be sacked (82%) and strong opposition (72%) to Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB.
We also have large percentages questioning David Cameron's handling of the affair. 49% say the Conservative leader has handled the situation badly. Over two-thirds tell ComRes that the Prime Minister demonstrated "poor judgement" in hiring Andy Coulson.
Overall, however, despite the admiration he has won from his own party and from pundits the saga has been far from transformational for Ed Miliband. Only 16% of voters trust the Labour leader to deliver justice on hacking. That's significantly behind Cameron who has the trust of 27%. 7% put their faith in Nick Clegg. Exactly half of voters are with Peter Hitchens and don't trust any political leader.
My own instincts are these...
- Voters didn't much respect tabloid journalists in the first place. Although there's disgust at the particular nature of what happened with Milly Dowler and war veterans I don't think there is much shock. Neither will there be much additional shock when the spotlight switches to other newspaper groups.
- Ed Miliband has consolidated his position in the Labour Party. Labour supporters have enjoyed his ferocious attacks on Murdoch and Cameron in recent days. But does he look any more prime ministerial to ordinary voters? No. His knight-on-white-charger routine will also look less wise if and when questions about Tom Baldwin grow and News International bites back (some time in the future).
- Cameron's laid-back approach to the running of 10 Downing Street has been held up to the light. This was the topic of my Sunday Telegraph column. No great damage done if he's shaken out of his complacency and puts together an operation that's worthy of the office of Prime Minister. But he can't afford to stay in cruise mode when the economic challenges, in particular, are mounting.
- The next election will be decided on bread and butter issues. The Westminster village is talking about nothing other than Hackgate. Down at the Dog and Duck soaring energy prices are the bigger topic of conversation.