This morning’s poll in the Telegraph by YouGov brings bad news for all three parties at the start of the Euro Elecion campaign. YouGov has picked up the trend recorded in the latest polls by MORI and ICM to show a marginal improvement in Labour’s position even though Tony Blair has been having a torrid time. The change in the gap between Labour and Conservative has, like MORI, improved by one percentage point in Labour’s favour. YouGov is showing Michael Howard’s party with a 4% lead.
This is the latest breakdown together with an estimate of what the House of Commons would look like if Britain voted as YouGov reports with a universal national swing.
LAB 35% 311 seats
CON 39% 265 seats
LD 19% 41 seats
There will be 646 seats in the next House of Commons
For Labour Tony Blair/Gordon Brown would be 13 seats short of an overall Commons majority and would not be in control of their own destiny. They would have to find a way of working with other parties or face losing power
For the Lib Dems the latest poll brings mixed blessings – down two points since February as well as a forecast loss of seats in the new House of Commons but in a hugely powerful position because of the hung parliament. Which way would the party jump – support Tony Blair or go into an alliance with the Tories and other parties to form a Government?
For the Tories the poll is very frustrating – a net improvement of about 100 seats in prospect but still a very long way from power and not making the expected progress given the problems that Tony Blair has been having. The 4% margin in the popular vote would give them a lot of moral force. The Tories would be the “winners” in England with most English MPs.
For political gamblers the poll’s impact on the House of Commons using Martin Baxter’s calculator reinforces the point we have been saying repeatedly – there is only one option in the main “Who will win most seats at the General Election” market – Labour. Even a Lib Dem-Conservative pact representing 58% of the votes would have 5 fewer MPs than Labour on 35%.
For the pollsters the gap between YouGov (CON +4%) and ICM (CON -5%) reinforces the huge differences in methodology. YouGov carries out its surveys on the internet where Conservatives are more likely to reveal themselves but the surveys are restricted to voters with net access. ICM is criticised for the weighting it attaches to non-voters. If ICM followed MORI and only included those “absolutely certain” to vote then it too would be showing the Tories ahead.