Sky News have released a new YouGov poll showing voting intentions of CON 37%, LAB 36%, LDEM 12%(!). It appears to be the lowest Conservative lead in a YouGov poll since last September, and the lowest level of Liberal Democrat support in any poll since 2001…except, it isn’t actually a standard voting intention poll.
Look carefully at the Sky News report which says “the survey shows a swing of four and a half percentage points upwards since a similar YouGov poll three months ago.” It’s referring to the last time YouGov asked a voting intention question giving the party leaders in the question, since that’s also what this question did. Lib Dem supporters can breathe a sigh of relief!
But, given that these sort of hypothetical polls usually produce a larger Conservative lead once Gordon Brown is mentioned, does this mean that Labour would have been ahead in a normal voting intention poll? Not necessarily – when the polls were asked before I always used to have to repeat the same old caveats about it being a purely hypothetical poll and about how Brown becoming PM would undoubtedly be accompanied by loads of positive publicity and eye-catching announcements. Well, Brown is now Labour leader and I have no doubt that it will have changed his image – is he an electoral negative anymore? Could he be an electoral positive when mentioned in a question these days? We don’t know. One sign that he might be an electoral plus for Labour at the moment is that when YouGov ask the same question with Blair as leader, Labour perform less well – a reverse from the position a few months ago.
More to come later once the tables are up.