This morning’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%. Full tabs are here. With YouGov’s polls having narrowed a bit of late, it’s actually the biggest Labour lead they’ve shown since the end of August. Normal caveats apply – it could be the positive publicity and policy announcements of Labour’s conference, or could just be perfectly normal variation within the margin of error.
Meanwhile the Monday version of Populus’s twice-weekly poll showed results of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 14%, UKIP 9%. Positive for the Lib Dems following their conference, but otherwise pretty typical of Populus’s recent polls. Full tabs here.
Finally there was a new TNS BMRB poll yesterday, their once weekly voting intention polls having become rather sporadic (the previous published one I can find was back in June). Topline figures are CON 29%(+1), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 14%(+1) – changes are apparently from a poll a fortnight ago that I don’t believe was released at the time. Full tabs are here.
Note that in this case the ten point lead is certainly NOT a reflection of Labour’s recent policy announcements – fieldwork for the poll was conducted from the 12th-16th September, so was actually mostly done before the Lib Dem conference, let alone the Labour one.
This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline figures are CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% – closer to the recent YouGov average than the two very close Sun polls on Wednesday and Thursday. As usual fieldwork was Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon, so finished before Labour’s policy announcements and almost all of the reporting of Godfrey Bloom’s eventful day at UKIP’s party conference.
As you’d expect in the week of Labour’s conference there was a batch of questions on Ed Miliband (as there was in the ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy), but they only really show the pattern we’ve already seen – only 16% think he’s provided an effective opposition, only 17% think he’s made it clear what he stands for, only 9% think he is a strong leader, only 17% think he is up to the job of Prime Minister. Predictably Conservative voters have a low opinion of Miliband, but in many cases even Labour voters have a negative opinion. While Labour voters do tend to see Miliband as trustworthy and in touch with ordinary people, most think he has not made it clear what he stands for and has not provided an effective opposition and only 44% think he’d be up to the job of PM.
In one sense it will be interesting to see whether perceptions of Miliband improve as a result of the Labour conference. I expect they will a little bit, but it probably won’t make any major or lasting difference to the negative perceptions of him; it’s a hard task to change the public’s opinion on a politician once it’s set. The question is more how much it matters (thus far Labour have remained ahead in the polls despite Ed Miliband’s poor ratings) and how much it might or might not matter when we get closer to the election, a question that’s impossible to answer right now.
The poll also asking about banning the wearing of traditional Muslim dress for women and about climate change. Two thirds of people would support a ban on people wearing the burqa or the niqab in Britain (a quarter of people would even support banning the hijab). Three quarters of people would support allowing schools to ban the wearing of veils, 81% support hospitals being allowed to ban staff from wearing the veil.
56% of people think that the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, 23% think that the climate is changing, but not because of human activity, 7% think it is not changing at all. This is a marginally higher level of public believe in man-made climate change than the last couple of times we’ve asked, but realistically it isn’t something that changes massively from month to month. 39% think that the risk of climate change has been exaggerated, 47% think it is every bit as real as scientists have said.
The monthly online ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy and the Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 28%(nc), LAB 36%(-1), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 17%(-2). The fieldwork was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, so at just the same time as the YouGov polls showing the Labour lead almost vanishing, but doesn’t show any significant narrowing. Populus’s poll yesterday also showed things rumbling along as usual.
In the weekend papers we should also have the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer and the YouGov poll in the Sunday Times.
UPDATE: The Opinium poll in the Observer is out, and has topline figures of CON 29%(-1), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(nc). No narrowing (or Lib Dem conference boost) there.
Following on from last night’s YouGov poll showing the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 36%, tonight’s again has them very close. The topline figures are Con 34%, Lab 35%, Lib Dems 11%, UKIP 11%. I rather expected that last night’s figures would turn out to be an outlier and we’d be back to a three or four point lead today, but it looks like something might be afoot.
It is, of course, conference season and 11% is at the top end of YouGov’s recent range for the Lib Dems. Perhaps what we’re seeing is a slight Lib Dem conference bounce at Labour’s expense (or perhaps the conference of one of the two governing parties has helped them both!). Either way, polls during conference season go and up down and it rarely pays to get too excited about them. The faltering lead is hardly a good start for Labour’s conference, but next week they’ll probably get their own boost from their own conference publicity.
Tom Newton Dunn at the Sun has just tweeted out tomorrow morning’s YouGov figures for the Sun. Topline voting intention figures are CON 36%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%.
It’s the first time that the Conservatives have caught Labour in a YouGov poll since March 2012 (during that period between Cameron’s European “veto” and the omnishambles budget), although ICM also had a poll showing them neck-and-neck a few months back.
I will obviously add all my usual caveats about any unusual poll – sure, it could be that the Tories have actually caught up with Labour after a couple of polls showing the lead down to three or four points… but just as likely that it’s just a bit of an outlier. It’s the trend that counts, so keep an eye over the next few days to see if there are more very small (or absent) Labour leads…