A new YouGov poll for the News of the World has topline voting intention questions of CON 46%(-1), LAB 26%(+1), LDEM 17%(+1). The poll was conducted between the 6th and 8th of August. I do tend to be slightly wary of August polls – most pollsters do weight samples by the number of foreign holidays respondents take to even out the bias of people being on holiday in August, but all the same. In this case though, we still have what amounts to a ‘no change’ survey. Thanks to Mike Smithson for ferretting the voting intention figures out of the News of the World, whose report concentrates on 46% of respondents wanting Brown to quit.

The SNP have also released details of a second YouGov poll, commissioned by themselves, which asked respondents in Scotland whether they thought Alex Salmond or Gordon Brown were doing a better job. 52% thought Salmond, compared to 12% for Brown. The SNP have no yet released the voting intention figures, though given they have a breakdown by voting intention I think YouGov will be obliged to show it in the published tables next week.


The full tables for ICM’s poll on Sunday are now up on their website. Amongst other things ICM asked whether people would even recognise some of the potential leadership challengers if they saw them in the street. While 79% think they would recognise Jack Straw, only 54% would recognise Harriet Harman and 53% David Miliband, and beyond that potential leaders are barely recognisable at all – 29% think they would recognise Alan Johnson, only 9% James Purnell. Those are the respondents who would recognise these people, presumably the proportion of people who recognise them and know something about them is even smaller.

It’s worth remembering that in questions about how people would vote with Harriet Harman, David Miliband, etc in charge, the majority of respondents don’t actually know anything about that person. At a stretch people might be familiar enough with Jack Straw to take a guess how they might feel towards a Jack Straw premiership (though not necessarily a good guess), but for the rest of them…


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Two Sunday Polls

There are two new polls in the Sunday papers. A new ICM poll in the Sunday Express has topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll, of CON 45%(+2), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 16%(-3). It was conducted betweeb the 30th July and 1st August. It’s actually the highest level of Labour support for two months, but seems to be at the expence of the Liberal Democrats. A second poll for BPIX in the Mail on Sunday had figures of CON 47%, LAB 24%, LDEM 16% and was conducted between the 31st July and 2nd August.

Both polls asked about the Labour leadership and again failed to produce any particular evidence that Labour would do better without Gordon Brown. 38% of people said they would be more likely to vote Labour if they dumped Gordon, but 40% said they would be less likely to. I don’t like questions framed in this way – it is impossible to tell how many of the 38% are people who vote Labour anyway, how many of those 40% are people who would never vote Labour.

In ICM’s poll Jack Straw was the favoured replacement for Brown, leading David Miliband by 24% to 20%. Other candidates were in single figures. In BPIX it was he other way round – Miliband lead Straw by 18% to 12%. It would appear that Straw and Miliband are the two front runners in the eyes of the public, though I doubt that is more than a reflection of the fact that they are the two who have been speculated about most in the press.

BPIX found 37% of people thought David Miliband was right in making media appearances in the last week that were interpreted as the beginning of a leadership challenger, 35% of people disagreed. 67% thought that, were Gordon Brown to be replaced, his successor should call an immediate election.

As I have said before, people are not particularly good at answering hypothetical questions about how they would react to future events, so this is not good evidence about whether a change in leader would actually help Labour or not. However, rightly or wrongly people do look to polls like this as evidence and it does drive the media story – so these findings are important for Gordon Brown’s future.