Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, Others 16%, producing an eleven point Labour lead, the same as in yesterday’s poll. With YouGov’s Labour leads varying between 9 and 13 points, my guess is that today’s figures are pretty reflective of the underlying average.

Opinium also released new figures today, with topline voting intentions of CON 31%(-1), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 11%(+2), Others 20%(-2). The seven point lead is towards the lower end of Labour’s recent leads, but once again the trend is in the same direction: with the government getting into one of those cycles of stumbling from one bad news story to the next, we’re seeing a definite drop in their level of support.

My guess is that the problem is no longer any single story, but the bam-bam-bam of one bit of bad news after another, and the impression it creates of a government that’s not really on top of things. What it reminds me of in particular is the experience of the last Labour government in April 2006, when they had the foreign prisoner scandal, John Prescott’s affair and Patricia Hewitt being heckled by nurses all break on the same day. Any of them alone probably wouldn’t have had much effect, but the combined stories left them looking like a government in crisis. Co-incidentally, that too was at the end of April, leading to Labour getting a drubbing at the local elections the next week. The same looks likely to happen to the Conservatives this time round.

This month’s Ipsos MORI poll, conducted for the Evening Standard, is out and has topline figures of CON 35%(-1), LAB 38%(+1), LDEM 12%(+1). While the trend towards Labour is the same as all the other polls, it is a much smaller Labour lead than we’ve seen from other polls this month.


Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 45%, LDEM 8%, Others 15% (including UKIP on 7%), a second thirteen point lead for Labour following on from last Thursday’s. It’s a bigger lead than in ICM’s poll today for methodological reasons that I’ve discussed here many times before (largely how the different pollsters deal with people who say don’t know and adjust figures for how likely people say they are to vote) but across the board we are seeing a movement towards Labour.

One interesting thing to note is the difference in UKIP figures between different companies. Some of this is, as I discussed in my post on ComRes’s weekend poll, also down to likelihood to vote and don’t knows, but there does seem to be a significant difference between online and telephone polls on it. All companies polls are showing an increase in UKIP’s support, but online polls are tending to show them a couple of points higher. It is presumably a mode effect of some sort – it could be that people who take part in online polls are more likely to support UKIP, or that the sort of people who agree to take part in phone polls are less likely to support UKIP. Alternatively, it could be an interviewer effect of some sort – that people are less willing to tell a human interviewer that they are supporting a minor party who are not prompted for.

ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian is out, with topline figures of CON 33%(-4), LAB 41%(+3), LDEM 15%(+2). These changes are from the most recent ICM poll, conducted after the budget for the Sunday Telegraph – the Guardian compare to their last ICM poll, that showed a pre-budget Tory lead, making the turnaround even starker.

I’m on a train at the moment, so will update more fully on this (and tonight’s YouGov poll) later.

The weekly YouGov London poll for the Evening Standard shows the race for the London mayor elections now neck-and-neck, with Boris’s lead on the second round down to 2 points. First round voting intention figures, with changes from last week, are JOHNSON 43%(-2), LIVINGSTONE 41%(+1), PADDICK 8%(+1), WEBB 3%(nc), BENITA 3%(+1), JONES 2%(nc), CORTIGLIA (1%). Once second round preferences are re-allocated the figures are JOHNSON 51%, LIVINGSTONE 49%.

The changes are within the margin of error, so I’ll add my normal caveat about not reading too much into it. That said, if the narrowing is genuine, why might it be? Looking at the rest of the trackers, Ken really hasn’t made much progress since last week. The percentage of people thinking he did a good job as Mayor is down, the percentage thinking he did a better job than Boris is down, he is down across the board on the question about each candidates’s qualities. Most of the changes are not significant in themselves, but the increase in voting support isn’t mirrored by an increase in his other figures. My guess, therefore, is that the narrowing of the polls is Ken gaining from the rising national tide of Labour support and the coalition government’s troubles, rather than any improvement in the public’s perception of him personally.

On other questions in previous polls we saw that people were pretty divided over whether Ken would actually deliver on his pledge to reduce bus fares by 7%. This week YouGov asked the same question about Boris’s pledge to reduce council tax, and found similar levels of belief and disbelief – 39% think Boris probably would keep the pledge, 38% think he wouldn’t.

YouGov also asked whether people think Boris and Ken were the right candidates for their parties. Amongst Conservative votes 86% thought Boris was the right choice for the party, with 4% disagreeing. Amongst Labour voters 60% thought that Ken was the right choice, with 25% thinking he was not.

Finally to wrap up the tax story, YouGov asked if people thought the three main candidates had or had not paid as much tax as they should. 27% thought Boris had paid enough tax, 24% thought he hadn’t, 49% didn’t know. For Ken 18% thought he had paid enough tax, 39% thought he hadn’t, 43% didn’t know.

Firstly, note how high the don’t knows are – the row over tax was the biggest issue in the mayoral election for a couple of weeks, and yet over 40% of people don’t really know whether or not the candidates did pay the right amount of tax. Secondly, while Ken scores worse than Boris (the proportion of people thinking he didn’t pay his taxes is 15 points higher than Boris), Boris is not perceived as particularly clean either. Thirdly, even amongst people voting for Ken 27% of them think he hasn’t paid as much tax as he should… yet it’s clearly not something they care about enough to stop them voting for him.

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