Will Populus record a Brown leadership bounce?
For polling geeks like me the next few surveys are going to be fascinating and might be good pointers to the future. For the transition from Tony to Gordon is well under way and he’s now being portrayed daily in the media mostly in a positive light as the PM in waiting. If there is going to be a Brown succession bounce then we might see the first signs of it.
This could be reinforced by the extraordinary and apparently concerted savaging of the Tory leader, David Cameron by the Murdoch press following his support for last week’s Commons call for an inquiry into Iraq. The top-selling Sun has been particularly vicious and for several days Cameron has had terrible headlines.
How much power to influence the UK political scene does the Murdoch press still have. We might get a sense in the next polling surveys.
If the Times and Populus are following their normal schedule then their November survey would have started on Friday with the fieldwork ending yesterday. This should have been good for the Chancellor coming at the end of an excellent week which was rounded off with many pundits saying he was almost certain to get the leadership without having to face any cabinet level opposition.
Generally Populus shows better Labour figures than the other firms with the monthly newspaper contracts. Thus the pollster has only recorded six leads for the Conservatives since Cameron’s election and it was the last of the main firms to report that Labour were behind.
This is probably down to two things: the formula it uses to calculate past vote weightings is marginally more favourable to Labour than ICM and nowadays it does not prompt with the main party names in the opening voting intention question. This last element, which is unlike ICM, seems to help Brown-Blair’s party.
Of course the key thing is the trend and a month ago Populus was reporting a Labour deficit of just one percent. If there has been a Brown bounce and a Murdoch-driven Cameron wobble then might we see the parties level or even a Labour lead tomorrow morning?
UPDATE AND AMENDMENT 1200: Andrew Cooper of Populus has emailed me to say that they do list the main parties in their main voting intention question. This is
â€œIf there was a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for? Would it be [rotate order] Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, or another party – or would you not vote at all?