The fact that The Sun is offering Gordon Brown some ‘favourable’ interpretation of an opinion poll should come as no surprise. The biassed slant taken has been noticed by ‘ senior Conservatives’ according to Conservativehome HERE, and they express their disapproval accordingly.
I wrote in December that we should be expecting a reversal in Murdoch’s approach to covering Gordon Brown in a mostly negative light, at least for a while in my post Brown tries to bring Murdoch to heel.
The fact that Murdoch is duly responding to the pressures being placed upon him should come as no surprise to anyone.
www.politicalbetting.com have much to say on the matter, finding The Sun’s interpretation of the polling results curious, as they use views from respondents who are known to be highly unlikely to actually vote. This is the same tactic as the one that was used by pollsters such as ICM Guardian to boost the Brown bounce, and we saw what happened to that! PB rightly reprimands the pollster for inconsistency of method, but doesn’t delve in what might be motivating the pro-Brown bias this time.
In my post ‘Brown Tries To Bring Murdoch To Heel’, I cover the fact that Murdoch is fighting to hold on to his shares in ITV, which he bought to block Richard Branson’s (Virgin Media) attempt to get into digital TV working with NTL’s cable network. Under Blair two years ago, Murdoch was allowed to do this. Brown has now opened up the case again via the Regulator who strangely has opted to interpret the rules differently this time.
It could as a result cost Murdoch UKL 200 million by forcing him to sell some or all of his ITV shares into a depressed market and lose the ability to block potential rivals to BSKYB to boot. While the decision is in the balance, and it will ultimately be decided by the John Hutton the Business Secretary (with no influence from Gordon Brown of course!), Murdoch is likely to try a bit of soft soap.
From Dave B’s comment below, the Sunday Times is apparently playing down Brown’s woes this weekend, blaming his current unpopularity on a few price rises.