Labour back into the lead & party supporters want him to stay
This month’s poll from Populus in the Times, puts Labour back into the lead for the first time since January. Its shares are with comparisons on last month CON 34%(-1): LAB 36%(+1): LD 21%(+1) – so a two point fall-off in the Tory position has seen one point jumps for Labour and the Lib Dems.
This is in line with other recent polls which have seen the Tory progress faltering. Populus, it should be said, has been showing the lowest Tory shares of all the pollsters and on only one occasion since Cameron was elected has reported a Tory lead and that was only one per cent.
Given that the Blair-led Labour party appears to be seeing off the Cameron challenge it’s perhaps no wonder that Populus found that 50% of Labour supporters want him to stick with his stated intention of staying in post until just before the next General Election.
My interpretation of the poll is somewhat at odds with The Times this morning which reports it poll under the headline “Voters tell Blair it’s time to go”. But that includes supporters of all parties not just Labour. Amongst all in the survey 47% said he should go this year but that’s down to 28% with those intending to vote Labour.
In the detailed data from last Friday’s YouGov poll, just out, 52% of Labour supporters said they would prefer to see Tony Blair as Prime Minister compared with 35% opting for Gordon Brown.
There’s little doubt that Tony Blair’s position would be much more precarious if Labour was behind the Tories and the polls were showing a big desire amongst party supporters for him to make way now for Gordon Brown. There’s nothing like the fear of losing your seat for Labour MPs to start questioning the leadership. But that is not happening.
This is why I’m sticking with my view that Blair will stay longer than the betting is suggesting. The latest price on there being no change-over until the end of next year at the earliest is 2.55/1.
In the “Labour Leader” markets the price on Gordon Brown has continued to ease. It was down to 0.34/1 at the end of lat week. This morning it is at 0.38/1.