As mentioned below, the voting intention figures in the YouGov poll for Sky News were actually prompted using the names of the party leaders, so aren’t comparable to normal voting intention figures (though they do tell an interesting story in themselves, showing Labour doing better with Brown – only 1 point behind the Conservatives – than under Blair, where they would have had a 2 point defecit. Aside from the voting intention question, which I have a horrible feeling will be bandied about far and wide without the caveats that it isn’t using comparable wording, there are some other interesting questions in the survey.
Public expectations are now that Brown is more likely to be Prime Minister after the next election than David Cameron (by 41% to 29%). YouGov asked whether it was a good or a bad thing to be the ‘heir to Blair’ – 45% of people thought it bad, with only 14% saying it was a plus. Bad news for David ‘heir to Blair’ Cameron then? Well, no, because only 15% see Cameron as the ‘heir to Blair’ compared to 34% thinking Brown is his heir. Whatever the stylistic resemblence between Cameron and Blair, it still appears to be Brown who needs to shake off his luggage.
YouGov then asked about party preference on a number of policy areas, Brown’s Labour party had a large lead on the economy (41% to 23%) and has moved back ahead on the NHS (32% to 25%) and education (31% to 27%). Cameron’s Conservatives were narrowly ahead on the environment (26% to 24%) and foreign affairs (26% to 25%). Incidentally, the question wording makes a significant difference here – we’ve seen in YouGov polls over the last few years that the Conservatives and Labour are pretty much even on the economy when you ask about the parties. If you ask about whether people trust Gordon Brown or David Cameron more on the economy though – the leaders rather than the parties – Brown wins hands down.
YouGov also asked if people thought it would be a good idea for Brown to bring politicians from other political parties into his government. Only 29% of people though that it would be good for him to bring in Conservative politicians, with 42% thinking it a bad idea. A majority of Labour voters thought it a bad idea – Tory voters were split 38% against, 39% in favour (presumably they were thinking of them serving as Conservatives – not defecting Quentin Davies style!). Asked if it would be a good idea to bring Lib Dem politicians into the government, 34% of people thought it would be a good idea, 35% a bad idea…but interestingly a plurality of Labour voters (42%) and a majority of Liberal Democrats (58%) approved of the idea.