Labour move to within 1% with Populus

Labour move to within 1% with Populus

    But Labour’s deficit is 8% with Brown/Cameron named as leaders

big ben rh thin.jpgThe first fully post-conference season poll to be carried out, that for Populus in the Times this morning, has Labour moving to within just one point of the Tories. The shares with changes on the last Populus poll a month ago are: CON 36% (nc): LAB 35% (+3): LD 18% (-2).

In the same October survey in 2005 which took place after the Tory conference in Blackpool had been dominating the news Labour had a 10% lead – so over the past year there’s been an 11% turnaround in the comparative positions of the main two parties.

But even with such a massive change in Tory fortunes Labour would still be returned with an overall majoriy if Britain voted in these proportions at a General Election.

The Tories will take comfort that they still have a big lead when the question was “If the choice at the next election is between Labour led by Gordon Brown, the Conservatives led by David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats led by Ming Campbell, which party would you vote for?”. The voting intention figures were CON 42% (nc): LAB 34% (+1): LD 15% (-1). with changes relating to when the same question was asked last month.

The fact that the Tories receive a substantial boost if Cameron is named in a voting intention question is a phenomenon that has been recorded in every poll that has asked this since the new leader came in.

I have long argued that the best way for Labour and the Lib Dems to deal with Cameron is never ever to mention his name. Attacking him just reinforces the link between the leader and his party which gives the Tories a boost.

There will be delight in the Brown camp that the Chancellor was scoring better than either Alan Johnson or John Reid when the same question was asked but with their names replacing Brown’s as Labour leader. The Johnson figures were CON 41%: LAB 33%: LD 16% while those with Reid named were CON 40%: LAB 30%: LD 19%.

I like the way that the Lib Dems get the biggest boost if Reid is named as leader. These poll findings, surely, will add further nails in the coffins of Reid and Johnson’s leadership chances.

Today’s poll must surely reinforce Brown’s position as the hot favourite to succeed Tony Blair. There is simply nobody else about who can make any difference.

The latest betting prices have Brown at 0.54/1 on Betfair. That look great value.

Mike Smithson

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