This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8% – still bang in line with the nine to ten point Labour lead that YouGov have been showing for months.
Political coverage today is likely to be dominated by the latest growth figures which showed an increase in GDP of 1% and, therefore, that the economy is technically no longer in recession. My constant refrain on this site is that you shouldn’t overestimate the likely impact of events – most people aren’t reading the political news or the business pages and those that do tend to interpret events through the prism of their pre-existing party identification anyway.
The announcement of GDP figures sometimes has an impact on the polls and sometimes it doesn’t. Unless they signal a particular turnaround they don’t normally register – they are a statistical number in the business news that says nothing about people’s real lives. When they can make a difference is if they trigger a media narrative that does say something people understand.
For example, there was no obvious impact in the polls from the horrid GDP figures in July, or those last January. In April 2012 when the GDP figures produced headlines about Britain being in a “double dip recession” there could have been an impact (Labour’s lead did rise, but it was part of the whole omnishambles period so it is difficult to differentiate one factor from another). If the media make a big fuss about the country being out of recession then it may filter through into more positive feelings about the government and their economic policy, or it may not. However public perceptions about the state of the economic are very pessimistic indeed, I suspect it will take a lot more than some good GDP figures to make much of a dent in them.