The Sun politics team have tweeted tonight’s YouGov voting intention. Topline figures are CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9% – so Labour’s lead down to 3 points. Changes may well just be sample error like the 2 point poll we saw earlier this week, but certainly there doesn’t appear to be any boost for Labour from their party conference.

Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%. Yesterday’s 2 point lead looks like it was just a blip, and the 6 point leads we’ve seen from YouGov lately are restored. Tomorrow will be the first chance to see if Ed Miliband’s speech has had any impact, though lots of the fieldwork will be done before people see the news tonight or the newspaper reaction tomorrow, so worth waiting until Thursday before drawing any conclusions.


There are two new polls tonight, both with good news for the Conservatives, though neither are particularly significant in themselves.

ComRes’s monthly telephone poll for the Independent has topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 12%(+1), Others 15%. The changes from the last ComRes telephone poll at the start of the month are not significant in themselves, but it’s the first time that ComRes have shown the Conservatives ahead since October last year.

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll in the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%. In the last week YouGov’s daily poll has had a very steady six point lead for Labour, it’s been three weeks since it was as low as two points. I’ll urge my usual caution about polls showing movement – sure, it could be the start of a trend, but it could also just be normal sample error.

Over on ConservativeHome there are details of some polling commissioned by Lord Ashcroft (and presumably, though he has an annoying habit of not mentioning who carried out the polling, conducted by Populus). Ashcroft commissioned three parallel polls with identical questions – a telephone poll of Conservative marginals with Labour in second place, a telephone poll of Conservative marginals with Lib Dems in second place, and an online national poll.

The online national poll had topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%. It was conducted in late August, so at the time all the polls were showing very tight Labour leads, and is largely interesting only because if Populus did conduct it, it’s the first time we’ve seen an online poll from them.

In the marginal seats, the poll used the same trick I did back in the PoliticsHome polling of marginal seats from 2008. First it asked people their voting intention using the standard question, THEN it asked them their voting intention again saying “thinking about your own constituency and the parties and the candidates who are likely to stand there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency at the next general election?”

This makes a relatively minor difference in Con -v- Lab seats (mainly it reduces the proportion of people saying “other”, presumably because some people out there would like to vote Green or BNP or something, but don’t normally have a candidate from that party to vote for). However, it makes a major difference in Con -v- Lib Dem seats. In a normal voting intention question in Con -v- LD seats the Lib Dems are in third place on 18%, asked using the constituency specific wording they are on 31%. Labour are 7 points lower using the wording asking about people’s own constituencies.

The reason for the difference is most likely tactical considerations – people answer Labour to a normal voting intention question because that’s the party they really support, but know that they happen to live in a seat where Labour could never win, so actually vote Liberal Democrat. I found exactly the same pattern when I first asked the question in this form for PoliticsHome, but the fact that it still produces the same pattern of results is very good news for the Liberal Democrats – it suggests that in Con -v- LD seats many (but not all) Labour supporters will still vote LD tactically.

In the Con -v- Lab marginals, voting intention with changes from the general election were CON 35%(-4), LAB 44%(+8), LDEM 12%(-5). This is a swing of 6 points (the equivalent of a Labour lead of about 5 points in a national poll), so suggests Labour may be doing somewhat better in key marginal seats than in the country as a whole.

In the Con -v- LDem marginals, voting intention figures are CON 39%(-2), LAB 19%(+6), LDEM 31%(-8). This suggests that the Conservative vote in these seats is largely steady, with the Lib Dems losing support towards Labour. Most national polls have the Lib Dems down by much more than 10 points (between 10 and 15, depending on the pollster), so this suggests that while they are doing badly in marginals, it’s not as badly as national polls would suggest. If this pattern was repeated in Lib Dem held marginals, the Conservatives would make moderate gains from them.

The other questions in the poll show an electoral pretty much evenly divided. 47% think the country is going in the right direction, 49% the wrong direction; 48% think the cuts are too deep and too quick, 50% think they are about right or too shallow; 46% think things are difficult now, but will get better in the coming years, 51% think the economy will be no better in 3 or 4 years.

The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here.

Economic confidence is very poor – the proportion of people expecting the country to fall back into recession has grown to 73%, up from 59% when YouGov asked in February. Only 8 expect their financial situation to improve in the next 12 months, with 63% expecting it to get worse (a net feel good factor of minus 55, the lowest since January) and only 31% of people think the government is managing the economy well, with 59% thinking they are doing so badly. Despite this, the Conservatives still have a lead over Labour as the party people think would best deal with the country’s economic problems, 30% to 24%.

Ahead of the Labour conference opinions of Ed Miliband are generally negative. His overall approval rating stands at minus 33, with the boost in perceptions that he enjoyed from “hackgate” having almost completely disappeared. Ratings of his leadership so far are miserable – only 18% of people think he has provided an effective opposition, 64% think he has not. Only 19% think he has made it clear what he stands for, 66% do not. Only 19% of people think he would be up to the job of Prime Minister, compared to 62% who think he would not.

His ratings are poor even amongst Labour supporters – 51% of Labour voters do not think Miliband has provided an effective opposition, 52% think he has not made it clear what he stands for. 45% of Labour voters think would be up to the job of Prime Minister, 34% think he would not.

36% of people think that the party would have been better off with David Miliband, including 45% of Labour supporters. Only 6% think the party would have been worse off with David Miliband, 35% think it would be no different. Asked who the best leader of the Labour party would be, 30% of people pick David Miliband to a rather cutting 9% for Ed Miliband.

There was also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday, which had topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%.