By Tim Montgomerie
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Over the last 24 hours we've had four opinion polls:
- TNS-BRMB: Lab 44%, Con 30%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 7% = LABOUR LEAD OF 14%
- YouGov for The Sun: Lab 45%, Con 32%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 8% = LABOUR LEAD OF 13%
- ICM for The Guardian: Lab 41%, Con 33%, LibDem 14%, UKIP 5% = LABOUR LEAD OF 8%
- Populus for The Times (£): Lab 40%, Con 35%, LibDem 9%, No UKIP figure = LABOUR LEAD OF 5%
The real comfort for Conservatives in the underlying data is that Cameron and Osborne remain more trusted on the economy than Miliband and Balls (except very marginally in the latest YouGov poll, see below). Their advantage has narrowed but as The Guardian points out, voters have moved to the don't know column rather than to Labour. Those believing that Balls and Miliband are best placed to run the economy has also actually fallen in the ICM/Guardian survey. Tories hope that if they can stay ahead of Labour on economic competence during a double dip recession then they can widen their economic advantage if an economic recovery narrative takes hold.
The other challenge for Labour comes in the Midlands, South and amongst pensioners. The Guardian/ICM poll finds the Conservatives up by 14% among pensioners, the largest and most reliable voting bloc. George Osborne will see this as vindication for his strategy of protecting and even enhancing all pension benefits.
On leadership qualities the latest YouGov poll does suggest that Miliband is growing in stature as Cameron declines:
Finally in this quick bird's eye view poll let's take a look at YouGov's numbers on which parties are most trusted on which issues. The list below is the net Tory advantage over Labour. It is notable that Labour is ahead on tax. Labour's advantage on the economy contrasts with the ICM and Populus polls. Populus gives the Tories a 15% advantage on the economy.
- Asylum and immigration +10%
- Law and order +5%
- Europe -1%
- The economy in general -2%
- Education and schools -6%
- Taxation -6%
- Unemployment -10%
- NHS -19%