Source: Politico’s poll of polls.
A Conservative optimist would say there’s no evidence that the school and college results fiasco, which dominated the media for over a week, has cut through to voters – at least if one looks at the main parties’ share of the vote.
That is the finding which we believe counts most: other measures, such as the relative standing of the main party leaders, matters less.
After all, it will do no good for Keir Starmer to be rated the better of the two party leaders if that advantage can’t be translated into a sustainable lead for his party.
A Tory lead of six points or so has now scarcely moved for the best part of three months, since shortly before the mainstream emergence of Black Lives Matter.
A Conservative pessimist would answer that a party’s standing can be like a rotting floorboard, collapsing suddenly when not expected to.
According to YouGov, approval ratings for the Government are now at their lowest since the last election (though higher than they were just before it).
And the same pollster recently found Starmer ahead of Boris Johnson when it asked respondents which of the two men would make a better Prime Minister.
This could point to Labour overtaking the Conservatives in the polls at some point before the year is out. It would be astonishing were this not to happen at some point before 2024.
All the same, Starmer’s party has at least two strategic problems. The first of them is the inverse of Labour’s lead among young people.
As Sam Coates wrote of the recent YouGov poll showing a two-point Conservative lead: “look how robust the Tory vote is amongst the over 65s – a 24 point lead over Labour.”
The second is that the Conservatives still lead Labour on competence, and are seen as less divided. All Starmer’s horses and men are having difficulty putting the party together again: Jeremy Corbyn’s legacy lives on.
Or, worse for Labour, it has enduring structural problems with its vote – the consequence of the long alienation of its working class base over immigration, values and culture.
Some will say that it’s too far from the next election for the polls to tell us anything. Our view is that while they don’t tell us everything – far from it – they do tell us something.