This market by Ladbrokes on Labour leading in a UK wide Westminster voting intention poll is an intriguing one, the most recent YouGov poll had the Conservatives 15% ahead, during the first phase of the pandemic that lead peaked at 24%, prior to the pandemic that lead was around the early 20s, so it is fair to say the Conservatives lead with YouGov has been consistently high.
So what chance of Labour leading in a YouGov poll this year? The odds imply a 55.6% chance, to be honest that would normally seem quite high but given we’re in a global pandemic I can see lots of things happening that normally wouldn’t happen.
We’ve now entered the eleventh year of Conservative or Conservative led governments, at the equivalent point in 1989, ten years into Mrs Thatcher’s government the Labour party led every single opinion poll from the 29th of May 1989 until after Mrs Thatcher announced her resignation in November 1990, so this is around the time governments become consistently unpopular, so history suggests Labour should start leading the polling, but historical precedent doesn’t always mean something will inevitably happen.
What I think will cause Labour to start taking the lead is this accursed pandemic, one of the things I’ve consistently seen banded about is that UK has the second highest number of Covid-19 deaths, now there are mitigating factors for this, such countries do not use the same methodology and it doesn’t take into account other factors, and other metrics (such as deaths per 100,000 population) .
There is an irony in this government, a government led by Boris Johnson, aided & abetted by Dominic Cummings, suffering from a dodgy statistic, but as the old cliche goes, you live by the sword you, die by the sword.
Coupled with the care homes disaster that Boris Johnson ‘bitterly regrets’ you can see how a narrative takes hold, especially with a government that seems to think the messaging of this pandemic was ‘stay elite’.
So yes I can see Labour leading in a YouGov poll this year, even before we might see a second peak, an avoidable second peak which may occur to get the travails of Dominic Cummings off the front pages. But I’d probably want a bit more than 4/5 being offered, I’d probably a lot more comfortable if the bet covered any pollster that was a part of the BPC.