UPDATE: It seems that it is not a co-incidence that these “Populus” figures for the 10th-11th March match the ICM poll conducted at the same time. I’ve checked with Andrew Cooper and they are one and the same poll. As regular readers will know, Populus sometimes use ICM’s call centre for their fieldwork. The income questions for Resolution went on the same poll as the ICM voting intention questions, so the voting intention figures are actually from ICM.

Populus did not carry out a national voting intention poll for the Times this month, instead conducting a survey of marginal seats. However, it turns out they have conducted a voting intention poll for the Resolution Foundation, a think tank working on policies for low earners.

It was conducted between March 10th and 11th, so it is a week old now, but the topline figures with changes from Populus’s February poll are CON 38%(-2), LAB 31%(+1), LDEM 21%(+1). This gives the Conservatives a 7 point lead, much in line ICM’s polling at the time.

As one might expect given their field of interest, Resolution have broken down voting intention by income, with not unsurprising results. Conservative support is highest amongst the better paid, lowest amongst the least well paid. Labour support is the opposite. Overall it meant that the Conservatives had a nine point lead amongst those earning more than £27,144, but Labour had a 6 point lead amongst those earning less than £11,596 (strangly enough the Lib Dems did best amongst those who refused to answer the income question, but I expect this is just random chance, the previous month the Conservatives had done best amongst refusniks).

The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are on their website here.

On the regular trackers Gordon Brown’s job approval rating is down since a fortnight ago (a net rating of -28, from -24) and Cameron up to +10 from +4. With the Lib Dems still enjoying higher ratings than YouGov were showing before their spring conference, Nick Clegg’s approval rating is at +20 from +12 a fortnight ago, the second highest YouGov have ever given him.

YouGov asked a series of questions on trade unions and Unite. 49% of people thought that Unite had a great deal or a fair amount of influence over the government. 17% though it was ever thus – that Labour had always been controlled by the unions, 28% thought Labour had distanced itself, but control was now shifting back. 32% thought that Labour used to be controlled by the unions but no longer was (including a majority of Labour supporters). More generally, 22% of people think trade unions are too powerful in Britain today, 19% thinki they are not powerful enough with 45% thinking they have about the right level of power.

Asked specifically about the BA strike, 35% of respondents thought the government should have condemned the strike more strongly, 18% thought the government got their criticism about right (a sum of 53% supporting the government criticising the strike). 30% said the government should not have taken sides, with 4% saying the government should have supported the strike.

Hardly anyone says the strike would actually change their vote at the election (and most of those that do can be dismissed – the 4% who say it makes them less likely to vote Labour are mostly Conservative voters anyway, while most of the 1% who say it makes them more likely to vote Labour are already Labour voters). However, while it may not be a direct consideration, it could still have an indirect effect in terms of the government’s response and the effect upon their party image.

Moving on, YouGov also asked about the budget. Only 25% of people said they expected Alistair Darling to tell to truth about Labour’s plans for the economy in the budget, with 64% saying he would not. Taken alone that sounds like a very negative finding for the government… but when asked the same question about George Osborne the figures are much the same, 24% expect him to tell the truth, 62% do not.

Finally there were questions on Methedrone (63% think it should be banned), and Gordon Brown’s comments on defence spending at the Chilcot Inquiry (64% agree with the criticism that he underfunded defence).


Sky News have also got the figures for tonight’s YouGov poll. After a slow decline in the Conservative lead over the last few weeks tonight’s has it bouncing back up. The topline figures with changes from their Thursday poll are CON 38%(+2), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 19%(-1) – meaning that YouGov and ICM’s figures are now very close to indentical.

The changes themself are within the margin of error, but it is the largest lead that YouGov have recorded since the beginning of the month, and perhaps a sign that the focus on Unite is moving the tide back in the Conservatives’ favour. I will add my normal caveat that one should always be cautious of sudden changes in polls: until we see YouGov’s figures on Monday we can’t tell whether the gap is widening again, or whether it is just sample error.

More to come later when the Sunday Times story goes up and the other questions in the poll are published. I’ve still no confirmation on whether there is a ComRes tonight or not.

There is a new ICM poll in tomorrow’s News of the World. Topline figures, with changes from ICM’s previous poll a week ago, are CON 38%(-2), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 19%(-1). While we’ve had a couple of ICM polls showing seven point leads recently, six points is the narrowest they have shown since December 2008. Fieldwork was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday.

There is still a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times to come tonight, plus the possibility of a ComRes poll in the Independent on Sunday.

Metro have a new poll from Harris. The topline figures with changes from their poll a week ago are CON 36%(-1), LAB 28%(-1), LDEM 18%(nc). Others are at 18%, continuing the tendency for the newer online companies to show very high figures for others. The poll was conducted between the 10th and 16th of March, making rather a mockery of Metro’s conclusions that the poll shows the “row over Labour’s links to the union Unite do not appear to have significantly damaged its support”. That’ll be because most of the fieldwork predated it.

On the subject of Unite, YouGov’s poll for the Sun on Wednesday had some British Airways questions. 23% of respondents thought that the BA strike was justified, with 59% thinking it was unjustified. On the other political argument to hit Labour this week, 61% told YouGov that they though Gordon Brown had knowingly misled the Chilcot inquiry over defence spending, with only 21% thinking it was an innocent mistake. Despite this, yesterday’s poll didn’t show any damage to Labour.

Of course, it might be a delay, but as I said yesterday I expect it’s partially because most stories don’t have any impact (the public pay far less attention to politics than we tend to imagine), and partially because you’d probably get a similar negative response if you asked about any politician – just because people think Gordon Brown dissembles, it doesn’t mean they don’t think all other politicians aren’t just as bad.