This morning’s Populus poll for The Times suggests a similar narrowing of the Tory advantage of Labour as was indicated by Sunday’s YouGov survey. The Blair resignation effect has so far overwhelmed the halo effect of the Tories’ local election results and the Conservative lead is halved to 4%.
The bad news for Gordon Brown is that the Tory lead widens to 10% when he is named against David Cameron in a head-to-head. The better news is that voters think he is a slightly better leader than David Cameron (by 5.0 to 4.95 on a unique Populus scale). The Times’ Peter Riddell and Philip Webster write:
"Mr Brown also comes out well ahead of Mr Cameron when voters are asked which leader is strong, by 34 to 19 per cent. But the Conservative leader is well ahead on charisma, by 28 to 9 per cent, with Mr Blair top on 31 per cent. Mr Cameron also leads Mr Brown on caring about the problems of ordinary people, likeability and being in touch with modern Britain. The two tie on having what it takes to be a good prime minister."
It will be sometime after the autumn’s party conference season before we can fully assess the impact of Gordon Brown on the political landscape. Only then will opinion polls be free of the distortive effect of the Labour leadership election and voters will have started to get the measure of a Gordon Brown premiership.