Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, UKIP 9%, LDEM 8%. The poll is surprising for two reasons – firstly the eleven point Labour lead is unusually high, for the last week YouGov’s daily polls have been showing a steady six point Labour lead, suggesting that the bigger leads we saw post budget had faded. Today we are back up to a double-point lead, and the largest one YouGov have shown since March.
The other interesting point is actually less surprising – UKIP have overtaken the Lib Dems for what I think is the first time. In recent weeks YouGov have often shown the Lib Dems and UKIP quite close in voting intention, there have been several instances of but a single point separating them, so in many ways this seemed inevitable sooner or later, if only due to normal random sample error.
Nevertheless, it highlights a real trend in support. While Lib Dem support has remained pretty much static in recent months there has been an increase in UKIP support. There are various possible reasons for this. One is them becoming a beneficiary of protest votes – in the past people who didn’t like either of the main parties and wanted to cast an anti-establishment “plague upon both your houses” vote may well have voted Lib Dem, now the Lib Dems are a party of government that is hardly an option and UKIP seem to be becoming one of the main beneficiaries. A second reason will be right-wing Conservatives disheartened by the compromises of coalition, a third, more short term cause is probably the granny tax: we’ve seen significant drops in Conservative support and increases in support for UKIP amongst over 60s since the budget and older people have always been by far the most likely group to vote UKIP.
Anyway, before wasting too much time on analysis I should end the post with my normal caveats about any unusual poll – sure, it could be the sign of a beginning of a trend, of new record Labour leads and UKIP moving into third place… or it could be a rogue poll, and tomorrow we’ll be back to a lead of 6 points or so with the Lib Dems in third place. The benefit of daily polls is that we only have to wait 24 hours to find out.