Will we be any wiser after this week’s polls?

Will we be any wiser after this week’s polls?

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    Could we see a better measure of Cameron vs Brown?

We are now in the final part of February and the only polls we have seen this month have been the usual Populus survey in the Times and the much misreported Sunday Times YouGov survey eight days ago.

What we have not had is a proper voting intention question if Brown was leader – a measure, surely, while will increase in importance in the coming months. The last time this was put was in early January in an ICM poll in the News of the World. Then Cameron’s Tory’s were three points ahead – one point less than against Blair.

The Sunday Times YouGov survey sought to do this by deleting any reference to the Lib Dems and made it a straight preference – Brown or Cameron. The results were interesting but were not a voting intention as many parts of the media tried to suggest including the Spectator which had almost a whole article based on this misconception.

Given the uncertainty over who will take over as Lib Dem leader it’s quite hard for a pollster to devise a question that measures this properly. ICM usually put it like this: “Suppose the Conservative Party were to be led by David Cameron, Labour by Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrats by ???????. If there were to be a General Election tomorrow how would you vote, would you vote Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or for another party?”

ICM’s monthly survey for the Guardian should be out within the next couple of days and it will be interesting to see if they have ducked this for February. The actual Tory-Lab margin is one of the points in our 2006 competition. The entries are stored in one of our new permananent pages – see list in the right-hand column.

Also likely to be out this week is the February YouGov poll for the Telegraph and we might see the month’s MORI poll. This has recently been carried by the FT.

What I am really hoping for is a newspaper-commissioned Lib Dem members’ leadership poll ahead of the ballot closure on March 1st. Surely this is one that the Telegraph would like to commission? Here’s hoping!

The Lib Dem leadership betting has seen a further move to Chris Huhne and away from Ming Campbell after prices had been almost constant for a week. Huhne has now tightened 0.65/1 from 0.81.

Mike Smithson

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