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It’s only a small improvement but the Labour lead is 6% in the Sunday Mirror.  ICM find Labour on 39% and the Tories on 33%.  Earlier this week – for The Guardian – the same pollster gave Labour 40% and the Tories 32%.  ICM and YouGov both have the same headline figures.  The Labour lead is just 4.2% in ConservativeHome’s crude average of the last five surveys by the five main pollsters.

Over at UK Polling Report, Anthony Wells has some useful observations:

  • On a uniform swing on current average polling Labour would end up with a majority of 108.
  • But it won’t be uniform – there’ll be double incumbency boosts to, for example, new Tory MPs who now have their own local followings and who aren’t facing a sitting MP with their own incumbency advantages.
  • The LibDems will probably gain a little in the polls during any campaign because they get more coverage (by law) in the run-up to polling day.
  • If Brown’s new support is in its northern heartlands it won’t do Labour much good.
  • The Tories shouldn’t portray an early poll as Brown rushing before the advent of bad economic news: "If they did it would be suicide, we’ve seen that in economic troubles people trust Brown. The Conservatives need to try and fight the election against Labour, not against Brown."  Good advice.
  • Anthony’s conclusion: "On the present polls an election next month will see Labour returned as the largest party, but beyond that nothing’s certain."

BBC News 24 is suggesting that the big theme Labour wants to project this week is that the Government is one of grown-ups.

I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating – parties always benefit from their conferences.  We should not be surprised if Labour has a 9% or 10% lead this time next week but it will be a product of their publicity boost.  If our conference is a success we can expect to bring the lead back down again.

10am update on Sunday morning with extra ICM findings from The Sunday Mirror:

"How do you think Gordon Brown is doing as Labour leader?

  • Well 66%
  • Poorly 12%
  • Neither well nor poorly 18%

Who would make the best PM?

  • GORDON BROWN 54%
  • DAVID CAMERON 21%
  • MENZIES CAMPBELL 8%

Which leader do you most trust to run the economy?

  • Gordon Brown 59%
  • David Cameron 19%
  • Ming Campbell 7%
  • None/Refused/Don’t know 15%

How do you think the government has handled the Nor thern Rock crisis?

  • Well 51%
  • Poorly 29%
  • Neither well nor poorly 14%
  • Don’t know 6%"

78 comments for: Tories close the gap on Labour (a little)

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