Will 12% from Populus put the pressure on Ming?

Will 12% from Populus put the pressure on Ming?

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    Are the Lib Dems the big losers from the conference season?

The regular monthly Populus poll for the Times is out this morning and the shares are, compared with the last survey from the firm last week CON 38%(+2): LAB 40%(+1): LD12%(-3).

It is important to note that the fieldwork took place over three days, from Friday to Sunday, and all but 200 of the interviews had been carried out before news of Brown’s election retreat became known.

The big story is that, like the YouGov poll on Sunday, the Lib Dems are in sharp decline. This is the smallest share by the telephone pollster since well before the general election and is only one point above the YouGov figure.

Populus carries out its surveys by telephone and applies both past vote and “certainty to vote” weightings. Its past vote methodology is marginally more favourable to Labour than ICM and its “spiral of silence adjustment” – a complex means of making an allowance for the don’t knows and won’t says – is less favourable to the Lib Dems.

Generally speaking the pollster with the most favourable methodology to Ming’s party is ICM and a poor showing from that firm could start to cause problems for the leadership.

Labour strategists will be delighted that it is the Lib Dem party that appears to be taking the hit for the Tory resurgence and not them. Given that the firm had Labour with a 10% margin just a week and a half ago the Tories will be reassured that they continue to progress and will be hoping for even better figures when the first full post-Saturday survey comes out.

As I have been saying for months, though, we really need to wait until November at the earliest before we can confidently start to measure the impact of Labour’s change-over.

In my betting I have now closed my £100 a seat Labour sell spread betting position. I had “sold at 332 seats, 320 seats and 312 seats. The close-down prices were 304 and 306 – so a very nice trading profit which, unlike other forms of betting, I can pocket immediately.

I think that Labour might now drift up a touch. Also I’m off to the US on business on Thursday where there are legal barriers on betting and I did not want to have open positions when it was going to be difficult to trade. Combined with my spread betting on the general election date my overall profit in the past two and half weeks amounts to just on £5,000 – all tax free.

If only we could have this level of polling turbulence all the time!

Mike Smithson

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