Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 7% – so the 6 point Labour lead in the Sunday Times certainly looks as though it was an outlier.
As I mentioned yesterday, YouGov also asked a hypothetical “how would you vote if Vince Cable was Lib Dem leader” question. YouGov’s control question naming the current leaders had figures of CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%. Asked how they would vote if Cable became Lib Dem leader the figures switch to CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%.
Both ComRes and YouGov show the Lib Dems doing better with Cable, and by roughly similar amounts (3 or 4 percentage points). The difference is that ComRes found it coming equally from the Conservatives and Labour, YouGov find it effectively coming straight across from Labour.
Still, while the speculation is fun, all the usual caveats about these sort of hypothetical questions apply. While Cable is quite well known and people can give some sort of educated opinion, they will be making complete guesses about what sort of leader he would be, what policies he would pursue, what the narrative would be around the appointment and so on. Most of the time hypothetical leader polls are probably more important for the impact they make on the Westminster village than what they actually tell us about how leaders would perform.