The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here and has topline voting intention figures of CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 5% – continuing to vary around what appears to be an underlying Labour lead of a point or so.

Once again the poll included a batch of hypothetical questions with different Labour leaders, and again suggested that Alan Johnson would attract more public support than Ed Miliband. The control question asking how people would vote if the leaders remain Cameron, Miliband and Clegg shows a Conservative lead of three points. If the Labour leader was instead Alan Johnson Labour would be 2 points ahead, with Andy Burnham Labour would be one point behind, with Yvette Cooper Labour would be four points behind. Usual caveats apply – respondents don’t know what policies or priorities alternative leaders would set, so questions like this measure only first impression perceptions of leaders, and take no account of what effect a party actually dumping its leader and perhaps having to have a contest would have.

Asking about Miliband himself, his ratings this week have improved since a week ago, albeit from a low base. 27% now think he’s made it clear what he stands for, up from 20%. The percentage who think he is a strong leader is up 2 points… but is still only 9%. The percentage who think he is up to the job of PM is up three points, but is still only 21%. Overall 33% of people think Miliband should remain Labour leader, 43% think he should stand down, but many of these responses are from Labour’s opponents. Among Labour’s own voters 47% think Miliband should stay, 34% think he should be replaced.

Moving on 26% of people think that the rise of UKIP has increased the chance of Miliband & Labour winning the election, 16% that it has increased the chances of the Conservatives winning, 58% say don’t know or that it has done neither. Amongst UKIP’s own voters – the people the Conservatives would be seeking to reach with a “Vote UKIP get Labour” message – only 16% think their rise is helping Labour. 22% of people think that David Cameron has responded well to the rise of UKIP, 57% that he has responded badly. However they are evenly divided about what would have been a good response – 34% think Cameron would be better off adopting more of UKIP’s policies and being more like them, 33% think he would be better off distancing himself more and arguing against their polices.

There remains comparatively little support for any form of UKIP-Conservative pact. Only 18% of people overall would support it, and both UKIP and Conservative supporters are opposed. If the Conservatives lose the Rochester by-election 53% of people think Cameron should retain his job, including an overwhelming 92% of Conservative voters.


ComRes’s monthly online poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 19%, GRN 3%. Tabs are here.

On the face of it there is very little change from a month ago, the Conservatives are down one, Lib Dems up one. However, there is actually an important methodological change. As regular readers will remember, last month ComRes did a split sample experiment in their online poll, with half the sample being asked voting intention with UKIP in the main prompt, half not. This apparently made 5 points difference to UKIP, with the prompted half of the sample showing UKIP up on 24%. ComRes have now switched over to prompting for UKIP all the time in their online and telephone polls, but it obviously didn’t have the same dramatic effect in this month’s poll. I suppose comparing prompted-poll to prompted-poll UKIP are down 5 points since last month, but perhaps last month’s was an anomoly and the impact of prompting is just less than the split-sample experiment suggested.

ComRes’s press release suggests they have also tweaked their weightings this month. I’ll update with details once they are confirmed, but looking through the tables nothing jumps out at me so it is probably relatively minor.


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Tonight we will have new polls due from ComRes in the Indy on Sunday/Sunday Mirror and YouGov in the Sunday Times. In the meantime though, a quite update on the other polls this week.

Thursday’s YouGov poll had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%; Friday’s poll had figures of CON 33%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%. In other words, YouGov’s figures continue to show normal random variation around an underlying average of an Labour lead of one point or so.

Populus’s Friday poll had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. The two point Labour lead is bang in line with Populus’s polls over the last month.

Polls over the last few months have got much tighter, and now seem to be averaging at a Labour lead of around a single point, compared to around six points at the start of the year. The eye catching ICM and MORI polls earlier in the week made some think this was a result of last weekend’s stories around Ed Miliband’s leadership but looking at this week’s polling as a whole that really doesn’t seem to be the case. The polls remain very, very tight… but there isn’t any great change from a week ago.


Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor is out in today’s Evening Standard with topline figures of CON 32%(+2), LAB 29%(-4), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 14%(-2), GRN 7%. The three point Conservative lead is the highest that MORI have shown since 2010 and the highest that any company has shown since January 2012. Full details are here.

As usual it’s the unusual poll that gets the attention, when it should be the trend. The fieldwork for the poll was conducted between Saturday and Monday when the media was full of stories about Labour having a leadership crisis, so naturally enough people have concluded that Labour’s leadership row has damaged them in the polls.

Except the MORI poll wasn’t the only poll conducted at the weekend. ICM also had a poll in the field at the same time, which showed Labour one point ahead (though down three on the previous month). Lord Ashcroft also had a poll conducted at the weekend, which showed a one point Conservative lead, but no change from the previous week. Populus had a poll conducted over the weekend too – it showed Labour holding on to a two point lead. YouGov had a poll conducted Sunday to Monday and another one since then, both showed a one point Labour lead, unchanged from last week.

The fact that this is the largest Conservative lead and the lowest Labour score for years is meaningful in its own way. It’s reflection of a general trend that has shown Labour drop from an average lead of around six points at the start of year, to an average lead of around about one point now. What the six polls we’ve had since the weekend don’t agree on is that last weekend’s row over Miliband’s leadership had any huge impact on this pre-existing trend.


Lord Ashcroft has released a new poll of Rochester and Strood. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 17%, LDEM 2%, UKIP 44%, Others 5%. This is a narrower UKIP lead than the ComRes and Survation polls at the end of October, but still enough for a comfortable UKIP win (especially since the poll was conducted at about the time postal votes were going out, so opportunities for people to change their mind are now fading).

Ashcroft also asked about how people would vote in Rochester and Strood come the general election, and found a substantial contrast. The figures aren’t exactly comparable since Ashcroft didn’t do likelihood to vote at the general election or reallocate don’t knows, but it suggests around a one or two point Conservative lead in general election voting intention amongst those giving a voting intention – hence raising the possibility of Mark Reckless winning his by-election, but losing his seat next May. Full tabs are here.