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1970 – when a Labour PM was misled by the polls

September 30th, 2007

1970 general election.JPG

    What happened when Wilson went early with a 7% lead

If there is one past general election that might worry Gordon it is 1970. Harold Wilson, the prime minister, did not have to go in the June and could easily have waited until the following year.

Bob Worcester, the Mori founder who was our guest this morning, has noted that when Wilson decided to go Labour had a lead of poll lead of 7%. Wilson decided to take the gamble and a Tory victory, as shown above, was the result.

Historically 1970 was a very odd and exceptional. It was the only time since 1945 when a party with an ample majority sufficient to govern was replaced by another party – also with an ample majority. In 1979 and 1997, the last two changes of government, Labour had lost its majority in the first and the Tories in the second. In 1974 it took two election before Labour got a majority and then only a small one.

Mike Smithson






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