As the next recession approaches, here is some good news: the last one in 1991-92 wasn’t actually as bad as we thought. That’s according to the Office for National Statistics, which has issued a revised set of historical national accounts. In 1992 the economy actually grew. Oh, and it turns out that Britain’s gross domestic product is now ?15 billion higher than previously believed-that’s roughly the size of the government’s education budget.
Since last year, there has been a 20 per cent fall in the proportion of voters who think Tony Blair is “more honest than most politicians,” according to an ICM poll in the Guardian. But Blair can reassure himself that public opinion is a pretty odd bird. Last year’s poll found that 33 per cent thought he was “experienced.” Now that he has actually been running the country for over a year, that figure is down to 29 per cent.
Republicans may not yet have found out how to dent President Clinton’s persistently high approval ratings, but the polling industry has. One ABC News poll last month found a 15 percentage point drop in Clinton’s approval score. Why? Because before this poll asked respondents how they thought Bill was doing, it asked what they thought of Hillary, reminding them of the wronged wife. In polling, context is everything. So how to cut that approval rating even further? Make the first question about Chelsea.
If you don’t need much sleep, you might be interested in a recent mailing I received from Compuserve. This offered 650 hours free internet access. Sounds good? Perhaps, until examination of the small print revealed this time had to be used within one month. To take full advantage you would have to be online 21 hours a day! So why doesn’t Compuserve simply say it is offering one month’s free trial? Because of rule one
in marketing to the innumerate: large quantities of small units sound much bigger than small quantities of large units.
Compiled by Martin Rosenbaum (fax: 0181 566 8339)