The Tories up a point on a fortnight ago
It’s multi-Gordons once again this morning but only half the number that accompanied the last poll, YouGov’s 10% lead, and one less than when the pollster, ICM, last carried out a survey two weeks ago.
The fieldwork for the firm’s August survey for the Guardian finished four days ago on Thursday so is already a little out of date. It won’t have been affected by the Liverpool shooting which has been dominating the headlines. These are the headline figures compared with the last poll from the firm two weeks earlier – CON 34%(+1): LAB 39%(nc): LD 18%(nc).
The one point decline in the lead is only marginal but the current 5% compares with the 7% margin that the pollster was reporting five weeks ago which will give some comfort to the Tories. I was expecting a Labour lead of about 4% so Brown’s party is in a slightly better position than I thought they it be doing at this stage. The Lib Dems will be pleased to be maintaining their 18% in contrast to drops from other pollsters.
As can be seen the headline over Julian Glover’s report is “Poll warning to Brown over October election gamble”. Certainly 5% does not provide the safety margin that the Brown camp would be looking for and as I’ve argued before Brown is not going to go to the country unless there’s a very good prospect that he’ll be returned with a majority bigger than what Blair secured in May 2005. Anything less would look less like an endorsement by the electorate and more like a partial rejection.
One key finding that might dampen the “election now” hawks is that 55% of those surveyed felt it was “time for change”. In the September 2006 poll the firm found 70% agreeing with the statement. So some movement there but that 55% number still looks pretty high.
Glover’s Guardian piece highlights the very different swings that seem to be taking place in the regions with Labour doing disproportionately better in the North. But the samples from these regional segments are too small to draw significant conclusions.
My betting. This poll will not persuade me to be either a buyer or seller of Labour seats on the commons spread markets. My main position is on how many weeks Gordon will serve as PM before the election. I’m a buyer at 80 weeks from last June and I’ll remain one.
Spreading false information. On Saturday night a poster calling himself “tipster” published detailed figures which he said was a leak from the Guardian poll. They showed an 8% Labour lead and this has proved to be a spoof. This is not acceptable on a betting site and he has now been banned from posting.