There are two new voting intention polls tonight, ComRes in the Indy and YouGov in the Sun (tweeted by the Sun Politics team here).

The YouGov/Sun figures show another small Labour lead, CON 36%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. This comes after the Labour lead shrinking to one point in YouGov’s weekend poll for the Sunday Times.

The ComRes/Indy poll on the other hand has figures of CON 31%(+1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 11%(nc). Compared to last month’s poll it does actually show Labour’s lead falling by three points, but that may just be because last month’s lead was a bit larger than usual. The average lead in ComRes telephone polls over the last nine months is five points – just like today’s.

So where does that leave us? Well, the reality is that because polls have a margin of error the messages will usually be a bit contradictory, that’s why it’s best to wait a bit and look at the averages. The Populus, Survation and YouGov polls do suggest a reduced lead, ComRes doesn’t. Even if there is one, it doesn’t mean it will last. Time will tell.

The first of this week’s two Populus polls is out and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LD 10%, UKIP 13%. That gives us three polls in a row from three different pollsters showing the Labour lead down to one point, though it should be noted that Populus do tend to show rather lower Labour leads anyway; they already had a one 1 point Labour lead earlier this month. Full tabs are here.


The full details of YouGov’s weekly Sunday Times poll are now up online here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 36%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.

That means two polls today, from YouGov and Survation, both show a reduced Labour lead of just one point. As ever when you get a couple of polls indicating a shift straight after an event it’s tempting to conclude the event has had a big impact. Be a bit cautious – the YouGov and Populus polls conducted Wednesday night and Thursday morning didn’t show a narrowing, it’s these two polls conducted from Thursday to Friday that show narrower leads. They aren’t necessarily contradictory (many people in those initial polls wouldn’t have seen the details of the budget or the media reaction yet), but it means the evidence isn’t all one way. Wait a bit to see if this pattern continues into the week.

The details of the YouGov poll don’t add much to the YouGov post-budget poll for the Sun. Confidence in the government’s handling of the economy and George Osborne’s ability is creeping upwards, but people themselves still aren’t feeling the improvement. 42% of people think the government is handling the economy well (the second highest score since 2010), 41% of people think George Osborne is doing well as Chancellor (up from 26% last April). But only 19% of people expect their own finances to get better over the next year, 38% worse. While this is one of the least negative scores since the general election it is still very negative!

The YouGov poll also asked again about Ukraine, continuing to find little support for any intervention beyond economic sanctions, though 44% would support personal asset freezing and travel restrictions against Vladimir Putin himself.

Looking at some other polling today, the Survation/Mail on Sunday poll also included European voting intention, which now stands at CON 28%(+5), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 23%(-3), GRN 3%. European election polls so far are here.

There was also a new ICM Scottish poll in the Scotland on Sunday. They have topline figures of YES 39%, NO 46%. Without don’t knows it would be YES 45%, NO 55% – a 2 point increase in YES compared to ICM’s February poll, but less than the 46% in their January poll. John Curtice’s take on the new ICM poll is here and referendum polls so far are listed here.

Survation have a post-budget poll in the Mail on Sunday tomorrow with topline voting intention figures of CON 34%(+4), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 9%(-3), UKIP 15%(-3). Changes are from their Sky News poll in January.

The one point Labour lead is the smallest Survation have shown since 2011 and Cameron’s bounce from the Europe “veto”. As ever, don’t get too excited over one poll: it may be a budget reaction, or it may be normal variation within the margin of error. Wait till we see some more polling before jumping to judgement, we should still have at least the YouGov/Sunday Times this weekend (as well as a Scottish ICM poll).

UPDATE: That was quick, the front page of the Sunday Times appears to show the weekly YouGov poll reporting the Conservatives on 36% and Labour on 37%. Presumably we’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to see the full details of the poll.

YouGov’s first post-budget poll is in this morning’s Sun. Topline voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. Five point Labour lead is broadly normal, though obviously you want to have several polls to get an idea of whether an event has had any impact, you cannot judge on one alone.

On budget and economic questions most of the specific measures in the budget are approved of, but then, they normally are. Income tax cuts and cuts in taxes on savings and so on all get the majority support you’d expect. The the rule change on annuities is supported by 66% of people, opposed by 8%, with 26% saying don’t know. The bingo tax cut is actually the only one that gets more opposition than support – 31% support, 38% oppose.

As I wrote earlier in the week though, budgets are more than the sum of their parts. It’s not really whether people approve of all the fiddly little bits, it’s the overall perception of the budget that counts. On that front, it seems to be a thumbs up so far. 47% think the budget was fair, 26% unfair – YouGov ask that same question after every budget and this is the most positive since 2010. 26% think the budget will leave the country better off, 15% worse off (again, significantly better than last year – net positive this year is plus 11, last year it was minus 10). 21% think it will leave them personally better off, 18% worse off (net score of plus 3, compared to minus 20 last year).

Of course, this is just an instant response – YouGov’s fieldwork runs from about 5pm to 3pm the next day, so many of the people responding wouldn’t have seen how the budget was reported on the evening news or the next day’s newspapers. Give it a couple of days before making any firm conclusions.