Frank Luntz on Ming Campbell

by Stephen Tall on March 16, 2007

I’ve occasionally been known to give US pollster Frank Luntz some stick – though not nearly as much as some others – so it’s with some interest I read his analysis of his focus group on the party’s leaders in today’s Grauniad.

It looks to be a pretty objective summary, with pluses and minuses against all of Messrs Blair, Brown, Cameron and Campbell. Here’s what he has to say about Ming:

[The public’s dislike of spin] should have been good news for Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell, the oldest of the would-be PMs. No one could accuse him of putting spin ahead of substance. But the comments about him – “yawn”, “bland” and “old fart” – are hardly ringing endorsements.

Lessons for Campbell: the fact you were against the Iraq war from the start puts you high up on two attributes that matter most, “a leader who says what he means and means what he says” and “a proven sense of judgment”. But serving as a cure for insomnia is not an admirable electoral trait. If the Lib Dems are ever to become more than just a protest vote, you will need to become more than just a talking head.

It’s still the case, though, that neither Newsnight nor the Grauniad acknowledge Mr Luntz’s close connections to the US Republican Party. It may have no influence on the way he goes about his job, but viewers and readers have a right to know his political vantage.