ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian has topline figures, with changes from last month, of CON 44%(+6), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 16%(-3). The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 25th January.
The poll obviously shows a large and significant increase in Conservative support – the sort of large shift I’d normally urge some caution about if it wasn’t in line with the sort of movement all the other January polls have shown. All the polling companies are now showing the Conservatives back above the psychologically important 40% level, back in a double point lead, and back in an election winning position. Things are not as bad for Labour as they were in the summer, but clearly things are not headed in their direction. There can be no doubt that the tide has moved back against Labour, and we now have to see how far it falls, how this effects the media narrative and if there is anything they can do to turn it around once again.
Some of the comments in the previous post have looked at the cross breaks and concluded that this is the shift in C2 support I spoke about earlier today. I wouldn’t conclude that yet, as I said earlier on, the crossbreaks by class jump about wildly from poll to poll so I’d wait to see a couple of polls before concluding that. That said, while we haven’t the evidence to conclude it yet, it is a likely explanation – ABC1s were strongly Tory anyway, and DEs have hitherto been reluctant to move further towards the Conservatives.
Looking at other questions in the poll, 64% of people think the government’s economic strategy will have no effect or make things worse. Looking at the specifics, the VAT cut and increased public works are supported by 63% and 85% respectively (though as we saw in some of the polls last year, this doesn’t necessarily mean people think they will be effective), less popular is the government’s attitude to banks, 52% support underwriting bank lending, only 43% support the partial nationalisation of the banks (wholesale nationalisation would be less, not more, popular – backed by 40%). Cameron & Osborne are also back ahead of Brown & Darling as the team they’d trust more on the economy, albeit by only a point. I think that is the first time for a while that a question comparing the two teams has shown Cameron & Osborne ahead.
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