Both Populus and ICM have new polls out tonight – two phone pollsters who have broadly similar methods, but today show somewhat differing results.
ICM in the Guardian have topline figures, with changes from December, of CON 40%(+3), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 16%(+1), Others 9%. In this Parliament ICM have tended to show by far the highest scores for the Liberal Democrats and, as a result, some of the lowest scores for the Labour party. This is partially to do with their reallocation of don’t knows (ICM, and to a lesser extent Populus, assume that half of those people who say don’t know will end up voting for the party they backed last time. This gives a big boost to the Lib Dems)
Meanwhile Populus in the Times has topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 13%(+1). Still to come tonight we also have YouGov’s daily poll in the Sun.
Looking at the rest of the questions in the polls, Populus also reasked a question from September on whether people thought it was difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as Prime Minister – 68% of people agreed, up from 63% in September. Populus went on to ask those who said yes why they had done so – 38% said because he wasn’t up to the job, 33% because they didn’t know enough about him, 9% because Labour are unlikely to win.
On Labour’s economic policy, ICM had one of my much disliked “will X make you more or less likely to vote for party Y” questions on it. 10% said the change in policy made htem more likely to vote Labour, 13% less likely. They also asked who people trusted more on the economy, Cameron & Osborne were on 46%(+2) to Miliband & Balls on 28%(+5).
UPDATE: YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, so Labour back in the lead again after the 5 point Tory lead in the Sunday Times. My impression taking into account today’s polls, YouGov’s recent numbers and the ComRes at the weekend showing the two main parties neck-and-neck is that the underlying position is probably a very small Tory lead of a point or so.
Also worth noting is the sheer contrast between different pollsters’ Lib Dem figures, with YouGov at one end with the Lib Dems at 7-10, ICM at the other extreme with the Lib Dems at 14-16, and the other regular polling companies somewhere inbetween, mostly showing them at 10-13. Some of this is down to how don’t knows are treated, but it probably also involves the minutae of weighting, when party ID or past vote data is collected and so on.