I didn’t expect anymore polls this year, but the Sunday Times has a final YouGov poll that shows a recovery for Labour. The topline voting intention figures with changes from YouGov’s previous poll are CON 40% (-3), LAB 35% (+4), LDEM 15% (-1).
It suggests the beginning of a turnaround for Labour, as did the last ICM poll. It is also the first poll conducted entirely after Nick Clegg became Lib Dem leader and, despite the publicity around his appointment, shows a complete absence of any sort of leadership boost. The huge caveat that needs pointing out though is the timing of the poll: the dates are the 20th to the 27th of December. The way that YouGov polls are conducted means that most of the respondents answer in the first couple of days, so actually people would have answered this poll over the weekend before Christmas, very few if any at all would have been filling in their voting intention between opening presents on Christmas morning.
Still, even the weekend before Christmas has the potential to be skewed by the holiday effect, with people travelling to relatives, being out shopping or just generally having better things to do. The fact that only 1566 people took part in the poll, despite it being open for seven days rather than three, does rather underline the effect of the time of year (it could, of course, have been a smaller sample size to begin with, but I suspect it was more likely a low response rate). There’s no obvious reason for this to skew polls in one direction or another, it can just do funny things. With this and ICM there does seem to be a pattern of Labour recovering as the immediate air of crisis which hung about the government in November lifts, but I’d be wary of drawing any firm conclusions until we’ve seen some January polls that aren’t at risk of being skewed by the holiday period.