A-week-is-a-long-time-in-politics Dep’t

It now looks as if Gordon Brown’s lease on 10 Downing might be extended.

It’s been an accepted axiom of British politics for more than two years that Gordon Brown was a dead man walking; supposedly the only question was the size of the Tory landslide. But the latest poll shows Labour well positioned to win the most seats in the next Parliament.

Of course, the trend may reverse again. But triumphal Republicans and suicidal Democrats both have lessons to learn from this. “Do not despair: one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

2 thoughts on “A-week-is-a-long-time-in-politics Dep’t”

  1. This doesn't surprise me very much; in fact, it reminds me a great deal of the Steele-and-Owen Show of the 1980s, when the forerunners of today's Liberal Democratic Party were trying to get in bed together (literally, if one believes Spitting Image) to oppose Iron Maggie, and the press lived and died based on months- and years-out polling data… only to see things end up the same at the election. Almost literally the same: If I recall correctly, a total of nine seats (out of well over six hundred) changed hands.

    Can I be the first to say "a pox on both their houses," just to thoroughly mix the metaphors?

  2. A weekend is a long time in polling. The latest latest poll puts the Tories back at +7 and in position to take control of the government (up from the +2 of the previous "latest poll" that you cited and right around the +6 of the polls before that). That's the risk of focusing on the most extreme polls – you may just be looking at sampling error.

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