Nationalism trumps the pollsters in Britain and Israel


The Israeli and British elections considered

Press Release
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON – When their original campaign strategies fell short, both David Cameron's Conservatives and Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud played the nationalist card. The polarization, emotions and divisions that created were the risk these right wing parties were willing to take to shift voters at the end.  That was a choice.  Stan Greenberg describes what happened in Politico Magazine.  And while both won, their majorities are small and their agenda poses grave risks for the country.

Another similarity… Both the British and Israeli national elections left pollsters embarrassed and surprised.  It has produced a lot of self-examination and James Morris has written a piece in the New Statesman on our own polling work for the Labour Party.

Stan Greenberg wrote: ‘The lesson from Israel and from the UK, unfortunately, is that playing the nationalist card works electorally. It does not work so well for the nation."

James Morris told the New Statesman that: ‘The 2015 election was a collective failure for the British polling industry. From January 2011 to Spring 2013, Labour’s average vote share in the public polls rarely dropped out of the low 40s, while our work for the party consistently had it around 7 points lower.  The more optimistic public polling helped Labour at various points, giving us momentum in the face of a hostile media. Ultimately, however, it proved costly, allowing the campaign to become a referendum on the popularity of a putative Labour/SNP government.’
 
Read the full Politico Magazine article here
Read the full New Statesman article here
 
Stanley Greenberg is CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and pollster for the Labour Party in Great Britain and for the Zionist Camp in Israel. His new book, America Ascendant, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in November.
 
James Morris is a partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and former pollster to Ed Miliband and the Labour party.