A new YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s previous poll at the end of October, of CON 41% (nc), LAB 35% (-3), LDEM 13% (+2). No dates yet, but the poll would probably have been conducted between Thursday and Saturday.

After some incredibly volatile polls over the last few months I think we are at last beginning to see a clear picture in the polls. With the exception of Populus who have them slightly lower, Conservative support seems to have steadied in the low fourties – YouGov have had them at 41% for three polls in a row, Ipsos-MORI at 40-41 for three polls, ICM at 40-43% for three polls. Interestingly thir support seems to have settled at a higher level than before the Blair to Brown handover, the reason that they are not recording larger leads than they were back then is that is has also increased Labour’s support. All the pollsters have Labour in the mid-thirties, whereas during Blair’s long goodbye they were languishing in the low thirties – of course, Labour are still falling, we don’t know if trend will continue downwards, stay in the mid-thiries, recover or whatever.

Finally, the increase in Lib Dem support from YouGov’s poll means that all the polling companies have shown the Liberal Democrats recovering slightly, presumably thanks to the publicity of their leadership election – their ratings are still very low compared to the past few years, but their trend is upwards. Obviously it remains to be seen what happens to their support once their new leader is chosen.

UPDATE: Looking at the rest of the figures, Gordon Brown’s ratings have slumped – down from +30 the last time YouGov asked the question using this wording to -10 now, David Cameron’s are also down slightly at +15 rather than +20 in the last poll, which was done straight after his conference speech.

The poll also asked about Gordon Brown’s relationship with President Bush. An overwhelming 74% of people think Brown is less close to Bush than Tony Blair was, and they tend to approve of this. Only 10% think he is too distant from President Bush, 45% think he has the relationship about right. 21% would like him to be still more distant.

YouGov also asked about expectations of house prices next year – 33% expect them to continue rising, 25% expect them to drop.

There is surprisingly little here compared to the amount of polling the Sunday Times normally do – in the past they’ve done a nice series of consistent questions about preceptions of Gordon Brown’s and David Cameron’s characters, I didhope they’d do them again. More likely they’ve done something that isn’t time sensitive that they can publish at a later date.


114 Responses to “YouGov put the Tories 6 points ahead”

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  1. Even better news for the Tories then. If this continues expect trust ratings for Cameron to increase compared to Brown’s on various topics. With predictions of the economy slowing down which seems certain, Brown will struggle as his strongest area might elude him now, so 2008 will be very intersting to see how polls wil turn out, if spending at Christmas is predicted to be slow in relation to economy.

    Lib Dem supporters shouldn’t be too disappointed as when the new leader is chosen their percentage should rise even more. However, at best for the next election i could see the Lib Dems at 19%, at best. If nothing dramatically goes wrong for the Tories, then their momentum will be strong for the Lib dems to tackle.

  2. “Economy slowing down” is hardly a crisis – possibly/probably more a cyclic blip. We are into a long-term haul before the next election, and a lead by the opposition (still not very large or long-established), is not exactly unprecedented at this stage in a parliament.
    Tories shouldn’t get too excited (or Labour too depressed) unless the trend against Labour continues, and gets larger, during 2008.

  3. Weighted Moving Average 40.3:35.8:14.2 C Lead 4.6. Were it not for the Populus poll which was, as I said at the time, a rogue (deviation from the back-interpolated figures, 5.6, is the second worst ever of any pollster) the trend would be even clearer. C is at all time high, Lab lowest since June. There is a fairly steady trend since mid-oct with the C Lead increasing by about 2.5% per month. And widespread reports of disarray and chaos in government. I guess by end Feb we’ll see a C lead of 10 points.

  4. is it not about time the labour party started to look for a new leader.this is a disaster for them with all the fresh talent in the cabinet.

    history will plot northern rock as the start of his downfall.

  5. Now only 33% think he is doing well and 43% think he is doing badly, a net approval rating of -10 and a precipitous drop of 40 percentage points in a month. At the height of his honeymoon in the summer, his approval rating was +48.

    40 percentage points drop in a month! Sh**!

  6. 601-yes it is an incredible turn round.Brown’s personal credentials are pouring down the plug hole.

    As outlined on another thread, I see the next six months full of events which will not help him at all.
    Reference newlabour leader-what would such a figure have to say that is new?

    If Cameron can get his own personal ratings steadily rising, then one could look for a head of steam which would push his party support into the mid fourties.If a ten point lead over Labour does begin to emerge then I think the cracks in the Big Tent will begin to show.

  7. Just looking at the Poll detail-on the “doing Well/Badly” question.:-

    Brown scores a net minus for every Gender/Age/Social Group Polled, except one-18/34 year olds who give him a net Well +3

    Cameron scores a net plus for every Gender/Age/Social Group Polled. The 18/34 year olds give him a net Well +18

  8. I predict an inevitable boost in LibDem support when they have a new leader, but am not convinced they will be able to keep up the momentum, especially if a change of government becomes a real possibility. How it will affect Tories and Labour in the SHORT term remains to be seen.

    2008 is likely to be the best year for the Conservatives in the polls since 1988, as we will then be well into the third term of the Labour government. It is worth noting that the Tories are particularly strong with over-55s, who are the most likely to vote.
    The timing of the next general election will depend on whether Labour will be able to recover their lead by summer 2009. If they don’t, I suspect it will be delayed until the last possible moment – June 2010.

  9. “Brown scores a net minus for every Gender/Age/Social Group Polled, except one-18/34 year olds who give him a net Well +3

    Cameron scores a net plus for every Gender/Age/Social Group Polled. The 18/34 year olds give him a net Well +18”

    They give both leaders a positive net rating?

    Raise the voting age to 35!

  10. I think the difficulty for Brown is that he is now , rightly or wrongly, being percieved as a control freak who despite what he has said about change and cabinet government seems to have centralised power even more.

    In addition his “Government of talents” is looking like little more than “me and my mates”, and that is hurting him badly.

    It might just be a run of bad luck, but if brown is to stabilise things he needs to open up and talk to people. Right now he is giving the appearance he so often did under blair of someone who goes off in the huff when he can’t get his own way.

    He may well have the difficulty that as PM a man who is fiercly loyal to his friends might have to sack one to show he has what it takes.

    I watched both Alex salmond and Gordon Brown being interviewed on TV last night after the Scotland game, and the contrast was huge. Alex did what he’s good at, a smiling interview in the street after the game, enthusing about the team, what they had done and the fans.

    Brown was in an office and gave a flat straight to camera statement that had all the warmth of cold porridge. It looked as if the praise had to pulled out of him.

    I am not saying he doesn’t care, I am sure he does, it just doesn’t come across. The man is a PR nightmare and like it or not that matters to the public.

    Peter.

  11. At the risk of appearing pedantic – if the poll was carried out between 14-16 November why does your archive say the end date was November 17th?

    Actually, if you compare it with previous polls rather than the last ICM poll its a (slight) increase for Labour.

    http://tinyurl.com/2yhz9m

  12. Because I can’t put a poll in the databse that drives the list without a date, or with a “TBC”, so if I haven’t got the date yet I put the normal date and update the next morning ;)

    It’d impossible to interpret it as a slight increase for Labour. 35% is the lowest they’ve recorded in any poll apart from ComRes in recent months, which was 6 polls ago. Labour’s level of support in recent YouGov polls has been 44%, 43%, 40%, 38%, 38%, 35%, a clear downwards trend. This is supported by other companies ICM – 40%, 39%, 38%, 36%, 35%, 35%. ICM and Ipsos-MORI present less of an obvious trend, but in both cases their most recent polls show Labour down sharply.

    There is no point drawing trends from polls carried out using different methodology anyway – we know that ComRes use a weighting system that is more favourable to the Conservatives than other companies, so this does represent a increase in Labour’s support since then, only that the figures have been weighted in a more favourable way. The only legitimate comparison that can be drawn is with previous YouGov polls, where the difference cannot be down to methodological differences (a small caveat, if we have a fair idea of the methodological differences we can draw broad conclusions….but we can’t ignore those methodological differences).

    I’m not a believer in any form of ‘poll of polls’ but if you do use one it should always be consistent in the number of polls is contains from different companies, else it is reflecting only the changes in the methodology used by its constituent parts.

  13. I know it’s stupid to extrapolate but Labour had a truly dreadful local council result in Lincolnshire where they appeared to lose two-thirds of their vote.

  14. Did the LibDem increase come directly from Labour? If so, it will reinforce some conclusions on the last thread. They lost some support to the Tories from way months ago and it by and large, it has not come back. They have made some small gains at the expense of both, very recently, but it seemed to be weighted towards Labour. Is that trend contining and gathering momentum?
    If it is, they may be about to pick the wrong leader.

  15. Andy D

    “I predict an inevitable boost in LibDem support when they have a new leader, but am not convinced they will be able to keep up the momentum, especially if a change of government becomes a real possibility. How it will affect Tories and Labour in the SHORT term remains to be seen”

    On Liberal Democrat Voice, Frank Feld said :-
    “It might be Labour votes that Nick Clegg takes. He’s the sort of nice guy the Labour-voting public might decide to back”.

    Looking at post 1997 data in Historic & Current Voting Intentions on this website, the peak rating for LDs was subsequent to the 7/6/01 GE. All Polls after that date up to the 6/5/05 GE ( itself 23%)average 21%-in fact each of the years 01/02/03/04/05 averaged 21%

    Subsequent to the 2005 GE their ratings have gradually fallen back to the those between the 1/5/97 & 7/6/01 GEs-ie 13 to 16.
    So are the Lib DEms going to return to the era of Blair plus IDS / Howard, plus the nightmare in Iraq? That combination which was manna from heaven for Lib DEms is surely gone forever?

    Are we headed for something like 41C/33L/16LD ?

    I can’t see how they can can do much more than pull a few points from Labour if Frank Field is right.

  16. You may be right Colin.

    I wonder if the Conservatives will be ahead in the polls all year in 2008?
    They only managed this in 1983, 1969, 1968, 1960 and 1948 (according to Gallup).

  17. Brown’s decline continues for his party and his “Vision” which we are all still awaiting !!

    The trend is steady as i predicted of a continual Labour decline in the POLLS and a small Liberal increese in the POLLS peaking for the Liberals after their new leader is elected and their media coverage declines again .

    My only hope is that the public do not mix up Clegg & Cameron as the same person – anyone watching Clegg will see what an incompetent the guy is !

    The Tories still seem to be making the political headlines – Cameron is getting around the country and getting his face seen where it matters . I was no big fan of Cameron initially – but the more you see him and listen to him – he definately comes over as a Prime Minister in waiting .

  18. This must be one of the fastest shifts in politic fortune we have seen for some time. It could though be explained by ‘Brown Bounce’ polls over estimating Labour’s numbers.

  19. Yes, Ralph. In a nutshell, the Tories were in the lead, then there was a Brown Bounce, now the Tories are in the lead again.
    I think that more or less sums up the opinion polls of the past year.

  20. Mike Richardson.

    I am not sure the electorate will mistake Clegg for Cameron as about the only thing he does at present is declare, “I am NOT a Tory, NOR David Cameron”. He is so keen to distinguish himself from them, he is in danger of alienating natural Tories.

    When he does speak outside that brief [as on Question Time], he is pro-Europe, pro-mass immigration and a Maggie basher. Not the way to endear yourself to the average Tory voter/Daily Mail/ Daily Telegraph/ The Sun/ The Times/The Express. The first two aren’t that popular with some trad. Labour voters either.
    In a way, making such a effort to define yourself against Camreon is flattering considering only a few weeks ago, some thought he was history. It says, he is the one to beat.

    I have to say I have been surprisingly unimpressed with him thus far. I am not sure how he will get on at PMQs. If he doesn’t hit the deck running, he could be in for a very short honeymoon.
    I have a feeling Huhne could highlight DC’s lack of experience where as with Nick Clegg, youth and inexperience will not be a legitimate LD lines of attack, In fact, the combined presence of DC and NC could reinforce the “so last century” view of the PM.

    My own view is that the voter will flirt with LD’s for a while and but that they have an aversion to a hung parliament, particularly in an uncertain economic climate If they continue to become disenchanted with this Govt, they will vote to get rid of it. If Clegg stakes himself out clearly to the left to distinguish himself from Cameron, it will be the left vote he picks up.

  21. Are the LibDems going to survive until the next election.? The animosity between the two leadership contenders could result in a RESPECT-ful parting of the waves….

    As for the data, it is too early to make predictions about 2010 (as any earlier would be suicide in light of Europe, Northern Rock, the economic-tightening, etc). The next electoral test are the local/London/European elections. They should indicate the long-term movements within the polls.

    The unknown “killer-policy” for the Conservatives? If the EU Constitution/Treaty cannot be reviewed by Parliament and populus (i.e. whipped through with no referendum) watch the Tories capitalise on the anti-EU vote. That could be the critical two-three percent to guarantee a working majority at the next election, and something New Labour could not steal!

  22. I don’t know why Clegg is so talked up. Not only is he vacuous on policy, but he’s petulant, and could actually be even better news for the two main parties.

  23. Has anyone got any insight into why Cameron’s personal ratings have apparently fallen in this poll? It’s not great news for Labour, but certainly not terminal. There are lots of iff and buts between now and the next GE, but most governing parties would still take Labour’s current poll position at this stage in a parliamentary cycle. I’m still not getting the feeling that there is a mass movement in favour of the Tories.

  24. I agree Alec. They are good news for the Tories, but for Labour to be only 6 or 7 points behind after 10.5 years in government to be described as a disaster just shows how much they have dominated politics after Black Wednesday in 1992.

  25. Joe James

    I agree. I thought Huhne was the better of the two on Question Time.

    If I were a LD supporter I would vote for him and wish to target disaffected Labour supporters.

    I don’t see any mileage for Lib Dems in the Conservative ranks now. What earthly reason does a Conservative today have for switching to Lib Dems?

    I fear that Lib Dems have lost their key advantage-Charles Kennedy. He had an unfailing ability to communicate sincerity and honesty to a broad cross-section which was a rare talent.
    I hope they bring him back before too long.

  26. Anthony(or any other contributor). Can you tell me of any site which records(and perhaps comments on) local election results? I have looked several times and got nowhere.

  27. Collin – Sean Fear does a column every Friday on Political Betting commenting on the week’s local election by-elections. There are also weekly threads on Vote 2007 on each week’s by-elections (that’s also normally the best place to get the results first. The Association of Lib Dem Councillors produce a very solid weekly run down of results and forthcoming by-elections here (links are at the bottom right of the page.

  28. I think the fact that Nick Clegg is talked up so much is a problem. He has failed to live up to those expectations so far. His performances to date suggest he will come across like a flustered prefect who can’t get the chidren to behave at PMQs.

    The Lib Dems have a limited opportunity to impress and neither of these men are making the best of the current one and seem to be saddling themselves with a Mr Nasty or Mr Calamity tag.
    Nick Clegg’s past indiscertions may be youthful but I can see a lot of people being put off by the seriousness of arson, particularly Tory voters and older voters [who are often one in the same]. It seems to have been ignored to date but he hasn’t been exposed to serious scrutiny yet.

    Who ever wins will have to have to have broad shoulders [no evidence of that to date]. The Davis/Cameron contest was well behaved but Davis still has to be very careful what he says. He cancelled all his fringe meetings at the Tory Con for fear of adverse interpretations. There are many potential problems a headfor this party.

  29. Sally C – very shrewd comments.

  30. No party likes a vicious leadership contest particularly if it’s close, as they are left a potentially split party and a losing side with a score to settle or simply bidding it’s time.

    Clegg and Huhne kicking lumps out of each other is the last thing the LibDems need. having said that them both being “Mr Nice but Boring” is exactly the impression they don’t want to give as a party.

    Peter.

  31. Sally C – I’d be surprised if Nick Clegg’s arson thing ever damaged him just because of the bathos of it being a cactus. Such things might have some effect if it was a case of X having the past of being a teenage hoodlum who torched a warehouse…but torching a cactus? Nah, it may well have been a professor’s priceless collection of race cacti, but it would still play as him having torched a cactus.

  32. Was it A cactus? I came across this story on the webb and have made no reference to it until the BEEB started making comments. Not sure the details I heard were correct [so I am not going to repeat them], but I am also not so sure about it being quite so begnign. I remember the fuss about Cameron’s “normal university experiences”. That died a death. The press went after him but there was not much public enthusiasm and the story became his response. We are entering an age where our politician’s pasts cover new ground. Even turned into a joke, coupled with the Calamity Clegg it could be bad news. So much depends on how the press react.

    The bigger long term danger is the one set out by Peter. Some of the LibDem bloggers are concerned that a Huhne leadership could be devisive on a personal level. So he will be sweetness and light if he loses then?
    Some feel a Clegg leadership could be devisive on policy. The problem with the later is that,unlike the Tories, they don’t see the need to change – only to “get their message across”. A new leader will have no mandate to shift emphasis.
    Either way, they will put up with it unless and until the polls are not good and then the sticking plaster will come off.

  33. Sally , I think you will find it is the Cameron sticking plaster that will come off when the LibDem poll ratings improve . From recent experience it does not take much of a setback in Conservative fortunes for his many dtractors to stick their heads out of the foxholes in which they are lurking .

  34. Mark Senior, I think you are being very optimistic.

    Even on the back of a recent 11% Lab Lead in the polls (due to Brown Bounce) the Tory Conference did not have all the foxes out. Lets not forget the Tory recovery came after Conference, not before it. A couple of broken records sounding off to the media != many detractors sticking their heads out.

    I wonder if Calamity Clegg will stick around as a nickname now if Clegg becomes leader, like Ming the Merciless and Chatshow Charlie.

  35. I think we will see some polls with the LDs below 10%, but probably not yet.

  36. Mark

    Why are you so confident that the Lib Dem ratings will improve? And by how much and by when do you say this will occur? Have you considered the possibility that the sharpening of the debate between the two main parties has simply frozen out the Lib Dems. Realistically the Lib Dems face the prospect of a spell in the doldrums until the mid term of the first Cameron led administration.

  37. Surely, the two libdem contenders have simultaneously shot themselves in the foot- quite an achievement.The situation looks pretty desperate to me-who on earth do they vote for?

  38. I don’t know if history has any worthwhile lessons for us, but I’d note the following.

    John Major became PM in Nov 1990, succeeding Mrs T; a few months later, in March 1991, an ICM poll in The Guardian showed the Tories on 29%, Labour on 40% and the LibDems on 16%. But Major recoevered by the 1992 general election, to win another term for the Tories.

    To what extent Brown, succeeding Blair, and a few months later being just 6% behind in the polls is any comfort to Labour, I’m not sure. But with the general election possibly not until 2010, I don’t think there is any foregone conclusion to be jumped to, just yet.

  39. I agree David: everything is in the air. “A week is a long time in politics” has never been more apparent. “Events, dear boy, events” etc…
    We can not predict the unpredictable and can only discuss emerging factors [it may be pointless but we can not seem to help ourselves].
    I agree the polls are all judged relative to Labour’s term in office and a wider view would indicate they are not disasterous.

    However, I do not think the polls in the Kinnock era should be relied upon too heavily for comparison [and not just because he added a “unique” factor]. Polling methods have moved on and we are not comparing like with like. Some adjustments were made post election but despite the recognition of the “shy Tory voter” etc. the polls still regularly underestimate the Tory vote/overestimate Labour.

    I believe I am right in saying that even with more accurate methodology, Blair should have won by a bigger vote margin. His landslide was actually exaggerated because to the distribution of votes. Therefore it may be significant when analysising the gap in % terms between oppostion and Gov to take into account which way roung they are.

  40. Nick and others , I have said several times on here and elsewhere that I expect the polls to move back gradually so that by next May they are very similar to what the polls were last May . The wild poll swings over the last few months are the reaction of the non core-vote main party supporters moving from one party to another dependent on headline news stories . This 15% or so of the electorate is in reality up for grabs and whilst it may be at present be largely saying they are going to vote Conservative it is soft support that a new LibDem leader can eat into just as Labour poll support above 35% in the polls has been shown to be extremely soft .
    The fall in Cameron’s personal ratings at the same time as GB’s ratings collapsed emphasises that voters as a whole are still not as enthusiastic Cameroonies as the harder core long term supporters would like to think .

  41. Anthony,

    Sorry to be a pain (again), but the PDF for the results doesn’t show any regional breakdown. Is that to come or will it not be released.

    Peter.

  42. Mark Senior
    I am assuming I am “and others”.
    It would be interesting to see where the people who like Cameron less said they would place their vote. It is significant if it comes from floaters but not if it is from firm Lab/LibDems who are ticked off with him. The third party is often “liked” because it is seen as harmless [ie.powerless]. Blair’s personal ratings soared when he said “I’m off”. “It took the poison out of the tail,” said one Labour man. Maybe some don’t like to see the sting in Cameron’s tail and would rather he be harmless.

    Or maybe they just don’t like him. I had expected a sympathy bounce for Brown, as happened to Major when Blair knocked him about in the Commons. Not so i would seem. Are the voters getting cynical? Surely not.

  43. DavidW – polls from the 1987-1992 Parliament are here. ICM’s March poll for the Guardian in 1991 had topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 16% – so a 1 point lead, not an 11 point lead (there is an error on the tables on ICM’s website, which give figures that say 29%, but which only add up to 90% and claim to show a 1 point lead).

    Major didn’t really recover either, in the last ICM poll before the 1992 election the Tories were on 38%, equal with Labour. It just looks like he recovered because the polls were wrong, and the Tories were in fact miles ahead of Labour. Theres no reason to think the polls weren’t also wrong in 1991, and the Conservatives had been ahead all the time.

    Quite right to say that there are years to go and anything is possible, the idea that you can reliably tell how the land will lie in 2 years time from polls now is nonsense. Polls don’t predict, they are a snapshot of feeling now. However, 1991-1992 probably isn’t the best example to use ;)

    Peter – I know nothing about this one, but I doubt there will be any further tables published.

  44. Yes Sally you are in the Others but no doubt you are very special LOL . The problem with opinion polls these days is that there are a large number of voters with little or no interest in politics from day to day . Many of these do not vote at all now and many comprise the non-core floating voters . Imagine one of these getting a phone call from a pollster whilst he is on his way to the football match or she is in the middle of changing babies nappy ( or to be non sexist vice versa ) . You are just not going to get a meaningful answer as to how they will vote in a GE ( or vote at all ) . The best you will get is a sort of popularity contest answer based on which party has been in the news recently and whether the news was favourable or not .
    Roughly 70% of voters are firm core vote supporters of various parties more of course Conservative and Labour than LibDem or Green or SNP , opinion polls will pick them up every time and their polling intentions will rarely if ever change but picking up the real voting intentions of the other 30% is exceedingly difficult and perhaps impossible except if a General Election was actually happening .

  45. DavidW,

    Part of Major’s ‘recovery’ was that pollsters were under estimating the Tory vote before 1992.

  46. It will be intersting to se how the television”Blair Version” of the last ten years plays for Brown as it is screened over coming weeks.

    I have a bad feeling that it will be the blairites revenge where they get there chance to portray Brown as a control Freak with a capital “F”.

    Mark,

    There are physically more Labour and tory core voters but what is hurting the Libdems is the share of their vote that is core. Right now the SNP is in the enviable position of being the opposite with all the indications being that our core support is even higher than the Tories.

    There may not be that many of us but we are loyal!

    Whether that will remain in the long term is amother matter, because it’s another thing that has really only been a feature for the last two years or so. It’s a good position to be in because you can hopefully target and attract new supporters without losing existing support even if they aren’t exactly happy with some of what you are doing.

    It’s great to have that goodwill, but you mustn’t take it for granted.

    In contrast, as I said earlier, the LibDems have to be cautious in case any move for new votes alienates existing ones. Much as I they are opponents I do sympathise because they aren’t actually doing anything wrong.

    They are a bit like cornflakes, a good product that just seems out of date. what do you do, change the box, change the receipe or both.

    Peter.

  47. I’m certain there was never a public poll showing Lab 40, Con 29 after Major took over – before the 1992 election.
    I think there was a 10 point lead of 45-35 in July 1991 as the recession took hold, but I’m sure the Tories never went below 35 under Major before the General Election.

  48. Mark Senior,

    Sounds like mid-polls are a waste of time… and websites discussing them… and posters on the websites discussing them.
    But hey- ho looks like we have all got too much time on our hands.

    So wasting yet more time…
    I agree they only give you a snap shot at a certain time and I accept [and repeat] that they are no guide to voting intentions in 2 years time.

    However it does give an indication of what turns the public on/off. More importantly they have a habit of “helping” the picture develope for a number of reasons.

    – Sometimes journalists become so wedded to their own or their papers narrative they don’t have a wider perspective.
    Does anyone think that the likes of Peter Riddell and others would be questioning Brown’s credibility so clearly and cautioning him without the poll warnings? This very questioning undermines further.

    -The Sun and others like to be seen to back the winner [and also like to ensure they are not going to be denied access to a future Govt.]

    – Some people are as politically shallow as you describe and follow the trend, which is pointed up by the media who in turn follow the polls.

    – It highlights the public’s changing priorities. Would immigration be the acceptable topic it is without the polls or would those raising it still risk being called racist? Would the PM have ever used B.jobs for B.workers – or suffered the resulting critisism?

    – They materially affect party moral and place pressure on parties, often with significant results. Did our current PM not rely on an 11 point lead to derail Project Cameron? Didn’t those very same polls end Ming’s tenure.

    Like it or not, they are not just a reflection of the political narrative – they help write it.

  49. re polls
    if they didn’t exist presumably political scientists would study things like local council election results/party membership figures etc.
    Local council elections show that right-wing parties have been doing well in England – even in areas such as North East Englamd which are overwhelmingly represented in Parliament by the Labour Party. I don’t think the polls sacked Ming Campbell – they just reflected the fact that the Libs were not gaining local council seats.

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