YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has topline voting intention figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll, of CON 45%(-2), LAB 26%(+1), LDEM 17%(+1). There is also a slight improvement in Brown’s ratings as PM and on the forced choice question, but they remain dire – this is really another no change poll.

The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 25th July and the nature of YouGov’s fieldwork means the majority of responses come on the first day, so almost all of the fieldwork would have been done prior to the Glasgow East result and the resultant press coverage.

YouGov also asked a series of questions about how David Cameron is seen. While questions in recent polls show Gordon Brown is viewed negatively across the board, there are still far more nuanced views of David Cameron. In some areas his public impage is unambiguously good – 57% think he is likeable (22% think the opposite), 52% think his is caring (22% uncaring), 51% think he is competent (19% incompetent), 45% think he is decisive (28% indecisive). There are still negative marks on his image though. He is still viewed as a lightweight by 50% of people, inexperienced by 57%, not in touch with ordinary people by 44%, somewhat shallow by 39%.

How much this matters at the moment is a different question. Cameron has a huge lead in best Prime Minister questions when put aside Gordon Brown (37% to 18% in this poll), and the details of Independent’s ComRes poll find that people agree he is ready to be Prime Minister by 46% to 42%. Clearly being seen as shallow and lightweight isn’t that much of a hindrance to him.

Cameron’s ratings are very positive – but there are negatives lurking under the surface, people do recognise some downsides to the Conservative leader in terms of being a bit insubstantial and shallow. With Brown as the alternative it doesn’t matter of course, he is loathed, but when Labour get round to removing him Cameron won’t necessarily automatically outshine Brown’s replacement.

There is a new poll by CrosbyTextor in the Sunday Telegraph, conducted in the top thirty Conservative target seats. I believe the poll was taken in the top thirty Conservative target seats using my notional boundary figures – the list is here. It matches the breakdown as given in the Sunday Telegraph of 20 Labour held seats, 10 Lib Dems and 1 SNP seat.

The share of the vote in these seats at the last election would have been CON 38.1%, LAB 30.8%, LDEM 24.5%, Others 6.6%. Today’s poll has party support in those seats at CON 41%, LAB 17%, LDEM 18%. Unless there is an unfeasibly high figures for others, I suspect the figures have not been repercentaged to exclude don’t knows so we can’t do a proper swing. Assuming the others are only a bit up on 2005, 8% say, the figures would be something like CON 49%, LAB 20%, LDEM 21% – the same sort of swing the national polls are showing.

Unsurprisingly these figures suggest easy victories for the Conservatives in these seats (though it would be interesting to see the breakdown between those 20 Labour held seats and 9 Lib Dem held seats), but with twenty point Tory leads in the national polls that’s no surprise – the key marginals at the moment aren’t the top 30 target seats that would see Labour lose their majority. It will be those targets further down the list that will determine if the Conservatives manage to get their own majority and how large it would be.


ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent has topline voting intentions – with changes from their last poll – of CON 46%(+1), LAB 24%(nc), LDEM 18%(+2). The bigger picture of a Tory lead around 20 points is still unchanged, though for the record this is the largest Tory lead ComRes have ever recorded.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, so before the Glasgow East by-election result and the atrocious media coverage Labour have received since then. I’m still expecting the monthly YouGov poll, clearly the Telegraph won’t be publishing that till next week.

Glasgow East

I don’t normally post on election results, I’m a bit of purist about it – as Danny Finkelstein posted more lengthily back before the local elections, local elections, by-elections and so on aren’t representative so don’t actually tell us much we don’t know.

The 24 news channels today are full of graphics showing the sorry few Labour MPs who would remain should the swing last night be replicated across the country. I remember Peter Snow used to do similar things at by-elections during the Major government, which normally showed something along the lines of only two Conservative MPs surviving and Charles Wardle and Sir Norman Fowler fighting out for the leadership.

It was, of course, all a bit of fun. In this case especially you can’t project the 22.5% swing to the SNP across the whole country, since it would mean the SNP getting 22.5% of the vote in every English seat. (For a bit of fun, if there was a 22.5% swing from Labour to their nearest challenger in every seat in Great Britain Labour would be left with about 20 or so seats, with Yvette Cooper the only cabinet member to survive the purge). Technically there was a 9.2% swing from Labour to the Conservatives in the Glasgow East by-election, which co-incidentally is pretty much in line with the national polls.

The real importance of by-elections to national politics (obviously they are important for the constituency itself) is the impact they make in terms of publicity, media coverage and the public’s perception. Gordon Brown and Labour are presently enduring almost back-to-back news coverage about how unpopular and moribund they are, that’s not going to do them any favours.

It’s also worth commenting on the two opinion poll conducted in Glasgow East over the campaign. They weren’t very good were they? Both showed Labour with a lead in the teens. I think there is a limited value in trying to tease out what went wrong though, while I remain dubious about whether ICM should use their normal re-allocation of don’t knows in by-election polling, in this case I am really not surprised at all that polling in a constituency which such extreme social deprivation went wrong. I tend to assume that the most excluded, the people on the very margins of socity, tend not to show up in polls. Those same people make up a very large proportion of the electorate in East Glasgow. In fairness, ICM’s poll was also done realitively early in the campaign and opinions could have switched.

Later on this evening we should get the final YouGov poll before summer, most if not all of the fieldwork for which would have been done before the result was know. It’s probably lucky that Populus’s monthly poll isn’t due this weekend (they may not even do one this month, they skipped the August poll in the past), that could have produced a truly frightening figure for Labour.

Ipsos-MORI’s monthly political monitor is now on their website here. The topline voting intentions, with changes from last month, are CON 47%(+2), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 15%(-1). The poll was conducted between the 18th and 20th July.

The rest of the poll is the usual litany of bad news for the government. Their net approval rating is at minus 59, Gordon Brown’s net approval rating is minus 51. 75% of people now think that the economic conditions in the country will get worse in the next 12 months, the highest MORI have ever recorded in the 29 years they have been asking the question. Only 11% expected things to improve.

In contrast David Cameron’s net approval rating is now plus 21, with 50% approving of the way he is doing his job. This isn’t as high as Tony Blair’s best scores when he first became Leader of the Opposition (his highest rating was plus 30 in March 1995), but is the sort of rating Blair used to receive around 1996 and early 1997. On the other hand, people are evenly split 44% agree, 44% disagree on whether David Cameron is ready to be Prime Minister just yet.

MORI have repeated a question that asked a while back, seeing whether the popularity of parties ran ahead or behind their leaders. It suggests that the Conservative party now has a more positive image than the Labour party, and that while David Cameron has a positive effect on the Conservative party (54% like Cameron, compared to 42% who like his party. 19% of people say they like Cameron but not his party, with only 9% saying the opposite), Gordon Brown is a considerable drag on the Labour party (only 29% like Brown, but 39% like his party. 21% of people say they like Labour, but not Brown, only 11% say the opposite).