December Populus Poll

Populus’s final monthly poll of 2006 in Tuesday’s Times shows a drop in the level of Conservative support. The topline voting intention figures are CON 34% (-2), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 19%(-1). Populus tend to show the smallest Labour lead of the main pollsters, and their Tory lead was as low as this as recently as October, but the drop in the Conservative share of the vote is more notable – they have been steady on 36% for the last four Populus polls, and this is their lowest level of support since prior to the local elections. The beneficiaries seem to be the smaller parties, with the “other” parties up to 14%, the highest level recorded by Populus since the election, including 4% for the Green party and 2% for UKIP.

The polls at the moment seem to be somewhat contradictory – the last YouGov poll also seemed to show a weakening of the Tory position, but the last poll from ICM showed them widening their lead to 8 points. With the Christmas holidays approaching I expect we will get the ICM and YouGov monthly polls earlier rather than later, which may shed some light on the situation.

Populus also asked their, now standard, question of how people would vote if Gordon Brown were Labour leader. This had appeared to show a narrowing of the Conservative lead last month, but this month seems to be back to normal – when David Cameron and Gordon Brown’s names are included in the question the Conservative lead grows to 7 points, 39% to 32%.

Populus also asked about how well people thought that Brown would perform as Prime Minister. While 57% of people said that they thought that Gordon Brown had been a good Chancellor of the Exchequer, it doesn’t necessarily translate into thinking he’ll be good at the top job. The 57% was made of up 34% of people who thought that he had been a good Chancellor, and would also be a good Prime Minister…and 23% who thought that while he made a good Chancellor, he would not make a good Prime Minister (there were 6% of people who thought that he hadn’t been a good Chancellor, but would be good as Prime Minister, the rest presumably didn’t rate him in either job).

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