Are we entering the era of Boat Race politics?
The massive monthly face-to-face survey by Ipsos-Mori is out in the Observer this morning and shows that Labour, on 41% have just pipped ahead of the Tories on 40%. The actual figures with comparisons on a telephone survey from a sample of half the size from the same pollster a fortnight ago are CON 40%(-1): LAB 41%(+3): LD 13%(+2).
Looking at today’s figures with the last directly comparable poll, Ipsos-Mori’s September face to face survey of nearly two thousand and we get a real sense of the magnitude of the political earthquake that we’ve experienced over the last few weeks. CON 40%(+9): LAB 41%(-3): LD 13%(-2).
The poll is actually quite old with the fieldwork taking place from October 18th to 23rd – so it started in the middle of the week before last.
The headline voting intention questions are based solely on those “certain to vote”. The findings from the other questions in the poll are based on all the responses – so include the views of a large number of people who have little or not intention of taking part in the democratic process. For this reason I tend to attach to them much less importance.
There has been a big change in the net satisfaction ratings of the two main leaders- something that we saw in Friday’s numbers from the YouGov panel. Brown has moved from plus 18% to minus 1% while Cameron has gone from -22% to minus 2%.
The paper describes the poll ushering in a “new era of ‘boat race’ politics in which Labour and the Tories are almost neck-and-neck.”
We’ll have to see what the October surveys for ComRes and ICM, where the fieldwork has been carried out this weekend, come up with. Unlike Ipsos-Mori both these pollsters apply weighting based on how respondents said they voted in 2005. This has the effect of depressing Labour levels because for some reason many more Labour supporters seem ready to answer the randomised unsolicited phone calls from polling firms than supporters of other parties.