Does more polling bad news make him less certain for leader?
The final poll of this survey rich week has seen another poor performance for Labour, more terrible figures for the Lib Dems. and the Tories consolidating a significant lead. The shares in YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph with comparisons on the last poll a month ago are CON 39% (+3): LAB 32% (-4): LD 16 (nc).
The YouGov figures reinforce the polls on Tuesday and Wednesday from Communicate Research and ICM which means that all the latest polls are reporting a very similar level of Tory support – 38%, 39% and 39%. Where the three pollsters differ is on the Labour-Lib Dem split. CR put the Ming’s party at 14%, YouGov has it at 16% while ICM reported a 22% rating.
A key question in YouGov was “If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative Government led by David Cameron or a Labour Government led by Gordon Brown?”. The split was CON 46% – Lab 33% which is by far the biggest margin that such a forced question has seen. This is how opinion has changed when this point has been put:-
FEB 2006 CON 37: LAB 43 (LAB +6)
JUN 2006 CON 44: LAB 38 (CON +6)
AUG 2006 CON 43: LAB 36 (CON +7)
OCT 2006 CON 46: LAB 33 (CON +13)
So the position for Gordon is getting progressively worse just at a time when he needs to be convincing his party that things will be better under his leadership.
This is, of course, a forced and a false question because voters have a much wider choice and there is no mention of the Lib Dems. As Anthony Wells notes in UK Polling Report it will be interesting to see from the detailed data how Lib Dem supporters split on this issue because it might be a good pointer to tactical voting.
The worry for Brown must be of poll deficits on this scale leading to a panic and the succession not being quite the foregone conclusion that it appeared.
One factor that I have raised here before is that Brown might blow up during what must be an extraordinarily difficult period for him. His performance at Treasury questions yesterday can only be described as bad-tempered and it’s just possible that his desire for the job that he has craved after for so long might lead him to do something that could have serious ramifications.
Labour MPs in marginal constituencies are going to feel a bit uncomfortable this morning. The saving grace for Brown is the lack of a viable alternative.