The full details of this month’s Populus poll in the Times (the first part of the large pre-conference poll that Populus run each year) won’t be available till tomorrow, but the topline voting intention figures are on the front page of the Times here: CON 30%(-4), LAB 45%(+5), LDEM 10%(-2). Changes are from Populus’s last poll back in July.
The fifteen point lead for Labour is the largest any company have shown so far this Parliament – and certainly the largest Populus have produced (the bigger Labour leads tend to come from Angus Reid and YouGov). I hasten to add my usual caveats about any poll that shows an unusual result – sure, it may be the sign of a huge shift in public opinion, but it is equally likely to be down to sample error. Other polls have not shown a vast increase in the Labour lead – ICM and ComRes have been steady, the average Labour lead in YouGov’s poll has perhaps inched up slightly in the last few weeks, but it is so small it is hard to be sure.
Of course we haven’t seen ICM, MORI or ComRes’s polls yet this month – perhaps they will echo this – in the meantime stop and wait and see (and perhaps sob quietly to yourselves at the amount of attention this particular poll will inevitably get, as the media, twitter and political blogs all take their normal route of making the outlier the story and ignoring the underlying trends.)
The only other question mentioned on the front page of the Times is on preferred Prime Minister – despite the large Labour lead, people when forced still say they would prefer a government lead by David Cameron. 23% of people say they are happy with Cameron and want him to stay, 37% say they are unhappy, but would rather have him than Ed Miliband, 31% (I think – bit blurry) say they are unhappy with Cameron and would prefer Miliband. The crossbreaks on that question will be interesting to look at once the tables appear!