A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline voting intentions of CON 34%(-1), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 15%(nc). The Labour lead is two points higher than the last YouGov poll, perhaps on the surface suggesting that the sharp cut in Labour’s lead in the last round of polling was to some extent a temporary effect of crime being so high on the agenda after the murder of Rhys Jones in Liverpool, but the changes in each party’s support are insignificantly small, so realistically it would be wrong to draw any conclusion beyond the fact that Labour’s position remains down on where it was at the height of the Brown boost.

The poll would have been conducted on Thursday and Friday of last week – YouGov’s responses are mostly received in the first 24 hours of a poll going live, so the majority of responses to this poll would have occured before the news of Northern Rock’s difficulties, but at the height of media coverage of the Conservatives’ rather Quality of Life policy report.

Along with any other polls that come out this Sunday, this will be the last poll before conference season kicks off – so this will be our baseline to see how well the parties perform over the conference season.

UPDATE: With the Liberal Democrat party conference starting the Sunday Times coverage of the poll lingers over Sir Menzies Campbell’s ratings. His approval rating stands at minus 21, compared to minus 15 for David Cameron and a healthy plus 40 for Gordon Brown.

45% of people think the Liberal Democrats would do better if they replaced Menzies Campbell with a younger leader, only 5% think they’d do worse. Amongst Liberal Democrat supporters opinion is even starker – 63% think the party would do better with a younger leader. Asked about how they viewed the Liberal Democrats, 41% of people said they are a useful third force, but 36% said they were an irrelevance.

The majority of the poll was carried out before the problems that have faced Northern Rock, but the economic questions already suggest that economic confidence is somewhat shaky. Only 26% of people said the economic outlook for their family was healthy, 50% said under some pressure and 21% under a lot of pressure. 46% said they expected to spend less on non-essentials in the next 12 months, compared to 12% who expected to spend more. 52% still expected house prices to rise in their area, with only 9% expecting a fall – it will be interesting to see if that figure changes next time a similar question is asked.

The poll included questions on some of the policies suggested by the Conservative party’s quality of life policy commission. Putting VAT on domestic flights was supported by 39% of people, but opposed by 54%. Stopping the expansion of airports was opposed and supported by equal proportions of the electorate, putting extra tax on large ‘gaz guzzling’ cars was viewed as positive by 80% of people (though as I’ve said before in response to similar questions, I’m sure most people answer such questions in the expectation that it would only cover cars bigger than their own!), there was also strong support for offering lower stamp duty and council tax for energy efficent homes – supported by 83%. Least popular was the idea of allowing councils to force out-of-town shopping centres to charge for parking – 71% were opposed with only 22% in favour.

Finally the poll asked about the parents of Madeleine McCann. 76% of people said they thought the McCanns were wrong to leave their daughter unsupervised, with only 19% saying they were just very unlucky. 48% of people think that the McCanns could have been responsible for her death, with 20% of people saying they are certain they are innocent (the options are somewhat slanted against the McCanns – it asked whether people were certain the McCanns are innocent, rather than what people thought was more likely).

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