4 APRIL 1958, Page 7

IF ROCHDALE was the television election, Torring, ton will go

down to history as the election won by public opinion polls—in spite of the fact that the pollsters turned out to be wider of the mark, at least in percentage terms, than in even the celebrated Truman! Dewey upset. All the indica- tions are that, as Mr. Mark Bonham Carter him- self conceded, it needed the polls at the beginning of the campaign to wake voters up to the fact that the Liberal Party had a chance (though his contention that they also brought a slight reaction against him at the end of the campaign may also be true). Oddly enough, in one way the polls have done the Liberal resurgence a disservice: the fact that Mr. Bonham Carter won by a con- siderably smaller margin than they prophesied has made some Conservative spokesmen com- placent, and even happy, about the result. To read some of the political correspondents' articles, it was almost a magnificent Tory victory against fearful odds. It would indeed have been a famous victory had the Tory won—but the credit would have been collected not by Mr. Royle, but by Randolph Churchill, who defied the polls and prophesied a Liberal defeat. Even as things were, Mr. Churchill could boast that his forecast came nearer than those of the public opinion polls.