This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.
There was also some polling about which party people trusted the most on the economy for the Times. Over the last few months the Conservatives have opened up a clear lead on the economy in general, presumably a knock-on effect of more positive economic news and increasing economic optimism. At the beginning of the year the two parties were typically neck and neck – the first time YouGov asked the question in January they found Labour one point ahead on the economy. Since then the Conservatives have gradually pulled away. By June and July they were starting to show a lead of around 5 points, in the last couple of polls YouGov have had them 10 and 12 points ahead on the economy.
In today’s Times poll they asked the question in a bit more detail – the economy, after all, isn’t just a blob, it encompasses all sorts of things like jobs, inflation, interest rates, growth and so on. The question wasn’t quite the same as the trackers above (the Times version was a forced choice between a Cameron-led Tory government and a Miliband-led Labour one, whereas the regular trackers give Lib Dems and “other” as options) but it does show us the parties different strengths and the clear battle lines where they’ll seek to fight the economic argument at the next election.
Labour & Ed Miliband actually have a 8 point lead over the Conservatives & Cameron if you ask specifically about providing jobs, a 6 point lead on keeping prices down and a 9 point lead on improving living standards. However, Cameron and the Conservatives have stronger leads in thier better areas – on helping people onto the housing ladder they lead by 11 points, on tackling the deficit they lead by 22 points and the general management of the economy they lead by 15 points.
There is an obvious conclusion here – on perceptions of general economic competence and ability to manage the economy well the Conservatives have a significant and growing advantage. However, on standards of living and keeping down prices Labour are ahead. Recent announcements by the government on things like rail fares are an obvious attempt to try and counter that, but there will also be a battle to control the debate and the narrative, from the Conservatives to make the economic argument at the next election about economic competence and management, from Labour to make it about the cost of living.