How is the new “humble” Brown going down with the voters?
So far we have not had a proper polling reaction to the “wall-to-wall” Brown coverage that seems to have been dominating the TV screens since the Chancellor launched his campaign for the leadership last Friday.
Yesterday’s YouGov poll was carried out last Thursday and Friday when Blair’s historic departure speech was dominating the headlines and only a proportion of the pollster’s internet voting panel will have completed their online questionnaires after Brown’s launch.
This weekend, if Populus have been following their normal schedule, the telephone pollster will have been doing the fieldwork for its May survey for the Times and which is often carried out in the ICM calling centre in the building above in Bedford – a facility that is used by several polling organisations apart from ICM.
Last month the pollster recorded a 29% share for Labour – its lowest ever and eight points adrift from the Tories. Will we see the YouGov impact of a move back to the governing party? This is likely because the coverage should have heightened the determination to vote amongst Labour supporters which is a big factor in the Populus calculation.
Equally interesting tomorrow will be the response to the Populus “named leader” question – who would you vote for if it was Brown’s Labour vs Cameron’s Tories vs Ming’s Lib Dems? Last month the Tories had a margin of 11% – will that have narrowed with all the Brown media coverage?
In January and February, alone amongst the pollsters, Populus had Brown doing better than his party. His team will be hugely disappointed if their man has not recovered at least a touch from the April findings.
Betting activity continues to be heavy on the Labour leadership with what appears to be a bargain 0.03/1 still available on Brown. That will surely tighten to 0.01/1 or disappear completely if the threat of a left-wing challenge evaporates – and that might be partially dependent on Populus.
Mike Smithson – author of “The Political Punter“