ICM have a new poll out in tomorrow’s Guardian showing Labour in the lead. Topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll a month ago, are CON 35%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 18%(nc). The poll was conducted directly after Ed Miliband’s conference speech, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This is the lowest any poll from any company has put the Conservatives since the general election, though that’s probably connected to the high Liberal Democrat score. There is a significant spread in Lib Dem support across different pollsters – YouGov tend to show them between 12-14%, the most recent polls from Populus, MORI and ComRes all had the Lib Dems at 14-15%, ICM have them steady up at 18%.
In other findings, concerns about the spending cuts continue to creep upwards 43% said they thought cuts had gone too far as opposed to 37% who think the balance is about right, slightly less supportive since than in July. However, the coalition continues to be trusted more on the economy than Labour – 50% think they are best to ensure a prosperous future compared to 31% for Labour.
On Ed Miliband, 28% think he will move the Labour party to the left, 41% think he will keep it in the centre and 8% think he will move it rightwards.
A final intriguing point was ICM’s question on what people would like to happen at the next election. The overall picture was that 40% wanted a Conservative led government (19% on their own, 21% with the Lib Dems), 39% a Labour led government (26% on their own, 13% with the Lib Dems). The interesting bit was that amongst Conservative voters only 50% wanted the Conservatives on their own, 41% prefered a Con-LD coalition. In contrast, when YouGov have asked the same question they have found 72% of Conservatives would prefer the party to rule alone, 25% prefer the Con-LD coalition.
YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%. Rather to my surprise there is no meaningful increase in Labour’s support from Ed Miliband’s first conference speech as leader. Once again, more stuff to come either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: I meant to update this last night or today but didn’t get the opportunity. The rest of the YouGov/Sun poll following Ed Miliband’s speech are here, and paint a rather mixed picture.
On one hand, the direct questions about the speech were all pretty positive – 36% think EM will change the party for the better, 35% that he won’t change it, 12% that he’ll make it worse, 53% believe that he is serious about reducing the deficit, 23% think he isn’t. 71% think he was right to criticise the last government and 56% that he was right to say the war in Iraq was wrong. The percentage thinking he will do a good job has also risen to 50%, from 43% before the speech.
But on the downside, he hasn’t managed to dispel the negatives he was clearly seeking to address in his speech – 32% think the unions will have too much influence (compared to 33% before the speech) and 45% think his election means the party has moved to the left (compared to 42% before the speech) – plus of course, the speech produced no obvious boost in voting intention.
Tonight we have not only the normal YouGov/Sun poll, but also an ICM poll for the Guardian.
The rest of YouGov’s post-Miliband poll is in the Sun here, and should be up on the YouGov website shortly. On the whole it’s pretty positive for Miliband – albeit, in a “reserving judgement” sort of way.
43% think Miliband will do well as leader, compared to only 23% badly, 34% don’t know yet. 33% think trade unions will have too much influence over Labour under Ed Miliband, 29% disagree, and 38% don’t know yet. On YouGov’s regular tracker of leaders’ qualities Ed Miliband scores best on being in touch with ordinary people (23%) and sticking to what he believes in (17%), but unsurprisingly 44% don’t yet know enough about him to answer. On the whole, he is still an unknown quantity for the public.
Perhaps the most interesting question on there is whether people think the election of Miliband moved the party to the left. 42% think it has – this includes 35% of Labour supporters, but they overwhelmingly see this is a good thing. YouGov also asked if the description of “Red Ed” was justified – only 19% thought it was, 31% did not (and again, 51% didn’t know).
Meanwhile the Times front page was dominated by some Conservative party polling from the start of the September. Basically, Populus showed respondents two video clips of David and Ed Miliband and asked people to rate them on various attributes, with the conclusion that David Miliband came out far better than Ed… confirming, albeit in far more detail, previous polls that showed David was more attractive to the wider public than Ed. I suspect “leaked” in the paper may translate as “deliberately released on the day after Ed Miliband became leader to undermine him now it’s too late for Labour to pick the good one”.
UPDATE: Rubbish reporting of polls times – the New Statesman dismisses the Conservative party’s Populus poll because “Without more information about when precisely the poll was conducted, who the respondents were (party affiliation and so on), and whether responses were based purely on campaign videos, it is impossible to consider this a serious blow to Ed Miliband”. Sound words indeed that I would normally agree with… except 10 seconds research on Populus’s website would tell you it was a nationally representative poll conducted between the 3rd and 5th September, in fact the dates are even in the Times article (it doesn’t tell you whether any other stimulus was used beside campaign videos, but Populus would be obliged under BPC rules to tell any journalist who asked). At least make an effort, dammit.
I’ve been predicting for a while that we’d see some conference polls with Labour ahead, and bang on time tonight we have. The first voting intention poll with Ed Miliband as Lavour leader has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%. It’s YouGov’s first poll with Labour in front since the election-that-never-was in 2007, and indeed the first time they’ve hit 40.
Conference polls are a strange and rather artifical thing of course, Labour might well do even better after Miliband’s speech tomorrow, but I’d expect them to go back behind next week when the Conservatives enjoy their own conference boost. Nevertheless, it’ll be a good boost to Labour morale and presumably Ed Miliband will be delighted to be back in the lead in the polls in his first poll as leader.
More to come later (or tomorrow morning) once the Sun publish the rest of the poll.
Later on tonight we’ll have the first YouGov poll conducted since Ed Miliband’s victory – I’ve seen the results now, so I’m not going to say anything that could be construed as a hint.
In the meantime, here’s some more polling YouGov did on Labour’s last week. We gave people ten statements related to things Labour needed to change (or not) to win the next election – five broadly positive and optimistic, five broadly negative. Once again, there are some harsh truths there about the problems Ed Miliband is going to have to tackle.
To take the good news for Labour first, 39% of people think Labour’s core values and principles are still strong, and 40% think the Labour party cares about all groups in society. In neither case is it a plurality, but YouGov run similar trackers asking about whether Labour’s heart is in the right place and whether they represent all groups in society, and in both cases they run ahead of the Conservatives – these are Labour strengths. While there may be some good parallels between Labour’s situation now and the Conservatives’ in 1997, Labour are not a new nasty party. People may think they are incompetent and tired, but they still think their hearts are in the right place.
Slightly less positive were the ideas that Labour are ready for a quick bounce back into office after a short period of opposition (36% agreed, 48% disagreed), or that their problems were all down to poor leadership in the past and that the party itself was fine (37% agreed, 49% disagreed).
The negative statements though provide more worrying findings for the new leader. 59% of people agreed that Labour had “seriously lost touch with ordinary working people” (including 30% of Labour’s own supporters), 70% that “Labour need to make major changes to their policies and beliefs to be fit for government again” (including 50% of Labour voters), 61% agreed that “Labour still haven’t faced up to the damage they did to the British economy” and 50% agreed that “If Labour returned to government they would put the country into even more debt”.
I’d still expect the cuts next month to leave Labour with a good healthy lead in the polls – but Ed Miliband needs to use his strength as a newly elected leader, and position of strength that a big lead in the polls will give him, to do some work on repairing Labour’s image. Exactly how Labour position themselves on public spending, cuts and the economy will also be critical – but I’m sure there will be a ton of polling on that to come in the next month.