Populus’s monthly poll for the Times is out here. The topline figures from Populus’s last poll at the beginning of December are CON 41%(+3), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 19%(-1).
The poll was carried out over the weekend, so after Labour’s leadership ructions had chance to have an impact. It shows larger shift back to the Conservatives than ICM and YouGov did, but that’s comparing it to a previous Populus poll that had a somewhat low Conservative score compare to others at the same time. Still this is the highest Tory score and lead from Populus since October, and three out of four polls since the attempted coup have now shown some movement away from Labour.
The failed coup does, however, seem to have provoked some sympathy for Brown himself. 41% of people now think Brown is the best leader Labour could have at the moment, and amongst Labour voters 71% think he is their best option (though, of course, there are fewer Labour voters than in October. It’s a bigger slice of a smaller pie). His personal ratings have also improved – the Times appears to have re-asked a series of questions on the party leaders they asked in their conference poll and found such chunky rises in the proportions of people who think Brown is strong, decisive and substantial (if they were asked in the same way as they were in September then we should have some interesting data on Cameron and Clegg too when the full tables are published).
Brown is, however, still regarded as a drag on the Labour party. 64% of people prefer David Cameron to the Conservative party, with 24% thinking the opposite. In comparison 49% think Brown is worse than Labour, with only 43% thinking he is better.
There are a couple of worrying findings for the Conservatives. Firstly 50% of people think Cameron is more on the side of the rich than “ordinary people”, compared to 64% of people who Brown is more on the side of “ordinary people”. There is also a negative reaction to the Conservative policy of supporting marriage – 40% of people think it is right for the government to actively support marriage, but 57% thought it was not the place for the government to promote one lifestyle choice over another. Even amongst Tory supporters, there was a very substantial minority (41%) who disagreed.
UPDATE: Heh. The original headline for the poll in the Times was “Gordon Brown’s freefall has been partly reversed, poll suggests”, and concentrated on the leadership findings, largely sidelining the headline voting intentions. Now the headline has been switched to “Poll shows failed coup hit Labour hopes hard”.
UPDATE2: The “changing” headline wasn’t changed after all apparently – the coup headline was the big frontpage headline for the poll, the Gordon’s rating headline was for Peter Riddell’s briefing inside.