YouGov confirms the big Lib Dem recovery

YouGov confirms the big Lib Dem recovery

    But the Telegraph describes a 7% Tory lead as “evenly joined”

After last week’s ICM poll in the Guardian which had the Lib Dems moving up a massive five points to a 23% share there’s more good news for Ming Campbell’s party in this morning’s January YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph.

These are the figures compared with the last survey by the pollster before Xmas. Con 38% (+1) Lab 31% (-1) LD 18% (+3). (Note the comparisons are with the poll that appeared in the Sunday Times and not the the earlier December Telegraph survey.)

    Not for the first time the oddest part of the survey is the way the Daily Telegraph is reporting it. The paper’s Anthony King writes as if it was bad news for the Lib Dems and bad news for the Tories saying “the battle remains more evenly joined than ever before”. Eh?

If a 7% Tory lead is “more evenly joined than ever before” what was last month’s 5% margin or last September’s poll that had Labour and the Tories level-pegging? Even allowing for normal Telegraph levels of Cameron-hatred this is stretching credulity too far. Get over it guys.

The survey itself was completed last Wednesday and normally would have been published on Friday. Clearly a lot has happened in the intervening period.

So what seems to be happening is that as disenchantment with Blair’s Labour continues the main movement has not been to the Tories but to the third party. This is welcome news for Ming Campbell and follows some assured performances on Iraq and the Saudi arms case controversy.

But there’s good news for Labour and for Brown in the the named leader measure that YouGov uses – a forced choice asking “would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative Government led by Cameron or a Labour Government led by Brown”. These are the responses to that question for the past year:-

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)
NOV 2006 CON 43: LAB 34 (CON +9)
DEC 2006 CON 45: LAB 32 (CON +13)
JAN 2007 CON 44: LAB 38 (CON +6)

This looks like a big recovery on the month but Brown’s party is still a long way off what it was a year ago. It does indicate that there should be a “Brown bounce” when he eventually takes over the top job. The big question, of course, is whether that will be sustained.

The main cloud on the horizon for Gordon is that only 31 per cent of those in the survey believe he “will prove a good prime minister” compared with 44 per cent who reckon he will not.

Whatever this is all a phoney war until Labour’s new leader is in place.

Mike Smithson

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