Survey shows the gap down to just 1% with the Chancellor in charge
This morning’s Populus survey in the Times shows that all the pundits who were predicting poll doom and gloom for Labour in the polls because of Blair’s position had got it wrong. The shares with changes on January are: CON 36% (-3): LAB 33% (+1): LD 19% (+1). The fieldwork took place during the weekend when the media was full of honours stories.
Even better from the Labour point of view is that when people were asked how they would vote when the “named leader” was put the split was CON 35% – LAB 34%. These are great figures the Chancellor.
What’s driving public opinion at the moment, I believe, is not the honours issue itself but the perception that Blair is starting to handle it well which he was doing by the end of last week.
While 56% of those in the survey felt that the loans- for-peerages allegations had â€œsignificantly reducedâ€ their trust in Labour a total of 43 per said yes to the proposition that the police investigation seems â€œto have been unnecessarily heavy-handed.”
I’m of the strong view that in spite of everything that has happened there is still a significant section of the electorate who warm to Blair and are sympathetic to his current plight. After all his only “crime”, if that indeed is what it is, was in trying to find the funds so his his party could fight the last General Election properly – something that leaders of all parties have done over the years.
For the Tories the poll is enormously disappointing and probably reflects that it has been hard for them to get much of a look in with all the focus being on Blair. The named leader question will be very bad news for David Cameron if other pollsters find the same trend.
Although for the Lib Dems the increase is nothing on the scale of other recent polls at least it is in the right direction. All five firms that carry our regular surveys in the UK have reported increases in support for Ming’s party.