A snap YouGov poll with fieldwork conducted on Monday afternoon through to Tuesday – so directly after Gordon Brown’s conference speech – has headline figures of CON 33% (nc), LAB 44% (+5!), LDEM 13% (-3).

The Conservative figure is believable enough, but the Liberal Democrat and Labour figures are extreme – the highest Labour figure recorded by YouGov (and indeed by any pollster) since 2002 and the lowest YouGov Liberal Democrat score since the depths experienced after Charles Kennedy’s removal. On a uniform swing these figures would give Labour a stonking majority of 140, put the Lib Dems down on 31 seats and the Conservatives on 197.

How seriously should we treat it? Well, it’s a snap poll, taken while Brown’s speech was still rumbling in respondents’ ears, there is very clearly a conference speech boost to Labour’s support, largely at the expense of Liberal Democrat voters. Gordon Brown’s first speech may very well give Labour a lasting boost in the polls, but this isn’t it – my guess is that this is just the transitory boost from the speech, exaggerated by doing the whole poll within 24 hours straight afterwards.

If you look over at the voting intention graph, you’ll see a similar sudden spike in Labour’s support at their last conference that put them equal with the Conservatives from being 7 points behind a week before. It faded away, I expect this one will too. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s really going to pile on the pressure for and speculation around an early election (despite the fact the poll also showed that only 29% of respondents wanted one this autumn) and it’s a horrid backdrop for David Cameron going into his party conference next week. If another poll doesn’t come out telling a different story, he’ll be addressing his second conference as leader with the albatross of an 11 point poll deficit hung around his neck. Ouch.


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