CON 38% (+2) LAB 26% (+2) LD 20%Â (+1)
The Big Parties’ recovery continues
The main impact of tonightâ€™s Populus poll for tomorrowâ€™s Times is on the minor parties, which are down 5%, with the gap between Tories and Labour steady at 12%, both up two points on the last Populus poll back on 10 June, shortly after the European elections and at the height of the expenses scandal. The 16% finding for Others is still high by historic standards.
The more interesting answers may come further down the questions, though without seeing the actual questions or the full data, caution must be exercised. Still, The Times is leading with the finding that the â€˜Labour investment vs. Tory cutsâ€™ theme that Brown has been trailing for months isnâ€™t working.
According to the paper, only â€˜just over a fifthâ€™ back tax increases as the main mechanism to close the budget deficit, against â€˜a thirdâ€™ who prefer the emphasis to be on spending cuts. When asked which party would best implement those cuts, the Conservatives lead 38-28, roughly mirroring headline party support.
The parties may well have private polling mirroring this – George Osborne was much more open about making the case for cuts on his Sunday interview, possibly indicating that the Conservatives intend to take Labour head-on on this subject. If so, the dividing lines are opening up in advance of the election.