Is this the result of Murdoch’s ferocious attacks on the Tory leader
After a week which has seen savage criticism by the Murdoch press on David Cameron and positive media coverage generally of Gordon Brown the November Populus poll in the Times shows the following shares with changes on last month – CON 36% (nc): LAB 33% (-2): LD20 % (+2).
So the trend is in line with recent YouGov, ICM and Communicate Research polls but with the Tory margin increase not being on anything like the same scale.
A key feature of the survey is a huge gender gap that suggests that Murdoch’s move and Cameron’s “tough love for yobs” theme might be bringing the women in but turning off the men.
The Tory lead is 6% amongst women compared to neck and neck with men, This moves to a Labour lead of 3% amongst men but an enormous 12% lead amongst women when those surveyed were asked how they would vote with Gordon Brown as Labour leader and Cameron and Campbell named as leading the other two parties.
Men favour a Brown-led Labour by 37 to 34 per cent over the Tories under Cameron. But women voters preferred the Tories by 42 to 30 per cent when asked the same question. Overall the Toriesâ€™ lead has narrowed from 42 to 34 per cent last month against a Brown-led Labour Party last month from 38 to 34 per cent now.
Ten days ago YouGov found Cameron doing 3% better amongst women than men to the question 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? That is, however, on nothing like the same scale as today’s poll.
If other pollsters find similar gender divides in future surveys it raises big strategic issues for the parties. Is it best to go for the female vote or the male vote when they respond in very different ways?
I do believe that the Murdoch attacks on Cameron have had an impact on both male and female voters. Given that on balance it appears to produce a net benefit for the Tories will the media magnate continue?
On the other big issue of the past week the pollster found that 49% wanted an immediate inquiry into the Iraq war, with a further 34% saying there should be one after British troops have been withdrawn.