Is it because only they think he’s doing worse on the economy?
While the big focus in the past few days has been on the Lib Dems the major leadership issue in UK politics is on Labour because who is chosen to succeed Tony Blair will almost certainly become Prime Minister. Charles Kennedy’s future has almost no impact on that one way or the other.
The full data-set from Populus ‘s December Times poll that had Cameron’s Tories beating Brown’s Labour by five points has just been made available and it is fascinating looking at the detail to examine current voter dynamics.
It might be a polling quirk and you have to tread carefully when looking at subsets of data in opinion polls but it appears that only 76% of those saying they are Labour supporters would definitely back the party if the Chancellor was up against Cameron.
Of the rest 5% said they would vote Tory and 5% Lib Dem with 4% saying they would not vote. The “don’t know” proportion was 9%.
By contrast total of 91% of Tory supporters would go with their party and the “seepage” from the Tories to Labour was just 1% with the “don’t know” figure at 4%. The only boost for the Chancellor was that 5% of Lib Dem supporters would switch to supporting Brown’s Labour.
Later questions on the economy provide something of an answer. Only 37% of Labour supporters agreed with the statement that “Britain ‘s economy is doing well – largely because of Gordon Brown’s policies & decisions”. Just twelve months ago the figure was 64%.
Yet Lib Dem supporters seem to be viewing Brown’s performance in a totally different way. A total of 31% agreed with the statement – an increase of 12% on a year ago. Even Tories in the survey were more likely to agree on Brown’s contribution compared with December 2004.
So there has been a big fall in confidence on his management of the economy amongst Labour voters while Tory and Lib Dems think he is doing better.
In the betting the best price on Brown succeeding Blair is 0.49/1.