Hissingsid - 7:13 pm on May 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
It seems very clear to me that there is relationship between exact match anchor-text backlinks and search term. If masses of backlinks are for Widget Sales (which is what my business is), and the search term is Widget Sales, my page is a long way down the results.
If this is true then it is definitely on a term by term basis. Using your example for <<Widget sales>> I have exact kw anchor text and my site is suffering, just a few places. For <<big widget sales>> I have a similar level of exact anchor text but I'm at #1 and #2.