Politico’s poll of polls above, which can be clicked on in the original to show dates, is a fascinating study. It charts three stages of events over the past tumultuous year.
The first begins after Theresa May’s announcement of resignation on May 24 and ends at the general election of last December 12.
It shows the Conservative opinion poll line gradually rising from pre-Boris Johnson’s election as Conservative leader through his win and Parliamentary setbacks – Commons defeats; expulsions; the Supreme Court judgement…
…To this thumping general election victory. During this period, Labour’s rating originally remains steady and then, as an election approaches, rises. The Liberal Democrat total falls commensurately.
The second period starts after December 12, and runs from the pre-Coronavirus first period of Johnson’s premiership until just after the election of Keir Starmer as Labour leader on April 4.
It shows the Tory rating climbing to a peak of 51 per cent of the poll, and Labour and Liberal Democrats ratings falling away amidst their post-general election doldrums.
This highest Conservative total also concides with the period immediately after Johnson’s Prime Ministerial broadcast of March 24 announcing the lockdown. Hence a Union Jack effect.
The third stage has Labour’s total rising about a week after Starmer’s election, and the Tory total falling below 50 per cent on May 4.
Between then and now the Conservative share falls smoothly and steadily to a June 10 total of 43 per cent. The Labour share on that day is 37 per cent.
The poll of polls presents no evidence to suggest that either the complex relaxation of lockdown announced on May 10, or the Dominic Cummings affair at the end of the month, speeded up the slide.
A more likely explanation is shutdown frustration, Britain’s death totals, financial anxiety – and a sense that the Government hasn’t handled the virus well, accentuated and amplified by media coverage.
The next election is expected to take place in four years’ time, so polls at this stage are of limited value – though it’s worth remembering that we are due to have a double dose of local elections in 2021: that year’s and this year’s.
Nonetheless, they are always worth keeping an eye on, and in our view the ones most worth clocking are those measuring voting intention, which are regular, comparable, and among the least obscure.
Britain Elects’ Twitter feed shows three polls since June. Survation’s of June 9/10, which shows the Conservatives at 42 per cent, Labour at 36 per cent and the LibDems at eight per cent…
…Ipsos/MORI’s of June 12, which shows the Tories at 43 per cent, Labour at 38 per cent and the LibDems at ten per cent…
…Redfield Winton’s of yesterday, which has the Conservatives on 41 per cent, Labour on 39 per cent and the LibDems on nine per cent…
…YouGov’s of the same day: Tories 45 per cent, Labour 37 per cent, LibDems 6 per cent. And Opinium’s, posted ten hours ago, showing 44 per cent, 39 per cent and six per cent respectively.
At some point before the year is out, we expect the polls to show the classic, though not invariable, mid-term shape: Opposition ahead, Government behind.