Brown gains ground on Cameron
For the first time since David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservatives Gordon Brown has achieved higher ratings in a poll than Tony Blair when set against the new Tory leader.
This is a move that has gone on almost completely unnoticed apart from in Anthony Wells’s Polling Report. In figures that were not published at the weekend ICM had this split with Brown as leader compared with the main party selection: CON 38 (-1): LAB 35 (nc): LD 20 (nc).
This might look like a minuscule change but in four polls before Christmas a Brown leadership when tested against Cameron had negative numbers of up to eight points.
The only difference between now and then is that the party leader line-up in the latest ICM question has Ming Campbell, rather than Charles Kennedy, for the Lib Dems. This could just make a difference though it is hard to see how.
These poll numbers, if sustained in future surveys could be critical for the supposed Gordon Brown succession. For we could never see how Labour could elect a leader who, as the polling seemed to show before Christmas, was a vote loser rather than a vote winner.
The whole political environment has changed with the Tory resurgence and if Brown was rating substantially higher than Blair then it could put further pressure on the Prime Minister.
The Brown for next Labour leader betting price has tightened to 0.5/1 while David Miliband remains second favourite at 7.8/1.
Even though it is now five days since the ICM poll was published the pollster has not yet released the full data set – something which it is required to do under the code of the British Polling Council which it says it follows. We have made a formal request which has been ignored.