Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, Others 16%, producing an eleven point Labour lead, the same as in yesterday’s poll. With YouGov’s Labour leads varying between 9 and 13 points, my guess is that today’s figures are pretty reflective of the underlying average.
Opinium also released new figures today, with topline voting intentions of CON 31%(-1), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 11%(+2), Others 20%(-2). The seven point lead is towards the lower end of Labour’s recent leads, but once again the trend is in the same direction: with the government getting into one of those cycles of stumbling from one bad news story to the next, we’re seeing a definite drop in their level of support.
My guess is that the problem is no longer any single story, but the bam-bam-bam of one bit of bad news after another, and the impression it creates of a government that’s not really on top of things. What it reminds me of in particular is the experience of the last Labour government in April 2006, when they had the foreign prisoner scandal, John Prescott’s affair and Patricia Hewitt being heckled by nurses all break on the same day. Any of them alone probably wouldn’t have had much effect, but the combined stories left them looking like a government in crisis. Co-incidentally, that too was at the end of April, leading to Labour getting a drubbing at the local elections the next week. The same looks likely to happen to the Conservatives this time round.