Why does Cameron’s name lift his party so much?
The headline figures in today Populus poll in the Times have the Tories at their lowest point since April and only two points ahead of Labour. The headline figures are with changes on last month: CON 34% (-2): LAB 33% (nc): LD 19% (-1).
These will be very disappointing figures for the Tories who only a week ago saw the party with an 8% lead with ICM. One of the factors has been an increase for “other” parties with Populus finding 4% for the Greens and 2% for UKIP.
It might be recalled that a year ago, in the polls taken after Cameron’s election as Tory leader in December 2005, Populus was showing a Labour lead of 3% on the main voting intention question which was the best picture for Labour from any pollster. An ICM survey at almost the same time had Cameron’s party 1% ahead.
The main methodological differences between ICM and Populus are the weightings that are applied after people have said how they voted last time. The ICM approach is 1-2% more favourable to the Tories than the Populus one.
But the survey produced a very different picture when the named leader question was asked – “who would you vote for if it was Cameron’s Tories against Brown’s Labour and Campbell’s Lib Dems?
These are the shares with comparisons on a month ago CON 39% (+1): LAB 32% (-2%). So last month’s Tory lead of 4% on this question becomes 7% which is in line with what ICM found at the end of November.
So in every poll from every single different pollsters that has asked this question over the past year there has been an increase in the Tory position against Labour – a fact that will reinforce the efforts of Cameron and his team as they seek to present to the public a very different Conservative Party.
Clearly in a General Election campaign the proposition that will be put will be to support “Cameron’s Conservatives” not just the Tories.
This finding underlines the point I have been making for months that neither Labour nor the Lib Dems have found a way of dealing with the challenge of the new Tory leadership in a way that resonates with voters. As Roy Hattersley observed a couple of months back – Labour has yet to land a punch on him.
Amongst the non-voting intention questions in the survey just over a third, 34% said that they think that he has been a good Chancellor and will be a good PM. But 23% said they thought he has been a good Chancellor but will not be a good prime minister.
These, like other non-voting intention questions from Populus and other pollsters include the views of many who will not vote and are much less important that those that ask about voting intention.
This is how the Tory lead-deficit on the PBC Polling Average of weighted surveys now looks. This comprises of results from Populus, ICM and YouGov.
A round-up of the latest political betting markets is here.