There is a new Populus poll in the Times. Topline voting intention, with changes since Populus’s last poll, are CON 39%(-1), LAB 29%(-1), LDEM 18%(nc).
It’s another no change poll, but as I’m sure many will note, 10 points is a particularly low lead compared to other recent polls. Populus use very similar methodology to ICM, and I’d expect them normally to show pretty similar pictures. However, the last two Populus polls have shown Tory leads of 10 points and the last two ICM polls have shown Tory leads of 17 points. Technically speaking they are within the margin of error of a position somewhere inbetween, and since there’s no methodological explanation my guess is that it is just that – normal sample error with the real picture being a lead around 13 or 14.
Others are up slightly to 14%, this is mostly a boost for UKIP who are up to 4% from 2% a month ago. It’ll be read as a result of the Conservative Lisbon policy, but I would be wary of reading too much into that – there’s no significant shift in Tory support and the level of support for minor parties does tend to bounce about a bit. For the record though, it is higher than UKIP normally reach in Populus polls (as opposed to around the time of the European elections, when they were as high as 8%)
Asking specifically about the Conservative European policy, 48% of respondents backed the Conservative policy that “it would be pointless to have a referendum on Europe unless specific further changes in Britain’s relations with the EU were being proposed”, with 46% instead saying that “should be a referendum early in the next Parliament on the general issue of Britain’s relations with the EU”. Conservative supporters however were less supportive – only 37% agreed with their own party’s policy, with 59% supporting a referendum.
Populus also asked about MP’s pay. 68% disagreed with the statement that MPs should have their pay increased “to ensure that good quality people from all backgrounds are not deterred from standing”.