Two new polls in Saturday’s papers show Labour back in the lead as the “Brown boost” takes effect. A YouGov poll in the Telegraph has headline figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll, of CON 35% (-2), LAB 38% (+3), LDEM 15% (+1). An ICM poll in the Guardian has CON 35% (-2), LAB 39% (+7), LDEM 18% (-3).
The boost in Labour support from Gordon Brown’s accession to the premiership is clear in both polls, both of which were presumably conducted in the days immediately following Brown becoming Prime Minister while he was recieving blanket news coverage. The important questions in the weeks ahead will be firstly – how high will Labour support peak? Will these polls carried out during the euphoria of Brown’s accession be their high watermark, or is there more yet to come?
Secondly, how long will the honeymoon last? Is it just a publicity boost that will fade almost immediately, like the boost in Labour ratings that accompanied Tony Blair’s final conference speech, will it last the summer, or into the new year, or will it be a step change leading to permanently higher Labour support?
Thirdly, when the boost from Brown’s accession subsidies, whether that be next week, next month or next year, where will it settle? Will Labour retain a lead, if not, will the Tory lead be bigger, smaller or the same as with Tony Blair?
Finally, will the Conservatives and the Lib Dems keep their nerve? They are both going to see their support squeezed over the next weeks or months as Labour ride high in the polls. Will their politicians dismiss it as the natural and temporary result of the publicity surrounding Labour’s new leader, or will they start panicing and agitating against their leaders? We shall see.