The Blink Test

There is an interesting article on the irrationality of  politics at The Economist. I will explore the other aspects of the article in separate posts but for the me the most interesting was the reference to the “Blink Test”:

Finally, perhaps the most powerful irrational quirk in politics: that Gladwellian “blink test”. Politicians, and their suitability for the highest office, are judged by voters very quickly, perhaps instantly. People who work in politics are often the hardest to persuade of this; they are understandably reluctant to acknowledge that the tactics, speeches and campaigns they slave over can do little to improve the fortunes of a candidate who simply fails the blink test. Neil Kinnock was Labour leader for almost a decade, but I suspect his failure to become prime minister was determined very early on in his leadership. Voters simply did not “buy” him as a plausible prime minister. The same was true of William Hague, who led the Tories to a crushing defeat in 2001 that was probably ensured as soon as he got the job four years earlier. There are figures near the top of the current government who believe that the public made their minds up about Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, some time ago. Having looked at gut reactions to him in focus groups and opinion polls, they are convinced that he fails the blink test, and quite badly.

The reason why this is interesting is in the context of Labour’s 5 leadership pretenders. We know Phil Goff has failed the blink test. Who of the five leadership contenders passes the blink test?


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  • potandkettle

    Jones or Cunliffe would get my vote. Only the unionists rate Little – he will unravel in Parliament I am sure. Shearer definitely for the future, but too soon now.

    • notavictim

      yep, you’re spot on about Stewy Little, he has already written an uppity letter to editor here in NP, he’ll be cannon fodder in the house. Cant wait.

  • thor42

    “Who of the five passes the test?”
    None of them, as far as I’m concerned.
    The day that Labour scraps the teacher unions will be the day that I’ll vote for them in an election.
    That will never happen – they love the teacher unions like I love pizza.

  • Dion

    None – although I haven’t seen David Parker on TV enough to be able to fully rule him out.