Communicate Research’s monthly poll for the Independent has topline voting intentions, with changes from last month, of CON 40%(+6), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 17%(-4). The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 25th February.

On a uniform swing the eleven point lead would be enough to deliver a workable majority to the Conservatives – only the second poll to do so since the election (the 13 point ICM lead which received so much attention last week was a hypothetical question on how people would vote with Brown as leader, not a straight voting intention question).

Before Conservative supporters get too excited, it is worth pointing out that Communicate Research’s polls are not politically weighted by past vote. This has two effects – often it means that the polls are slightly more favourable to Labour than politically weighted polls like ICM’s and Populus’s (though clearly not in this particular case), secondly political weighting dampens down volatility since every sample will have of the same proportion of people who say they voted Labour in 2005, the same proportion of people who say they voted Conservative in 2005 and so on.

When averaged over time non-politically weighted voting intention polls like Communicate’s or MORI’s tend to produce figures that are broadly in line with the figures that are produced by companies that do use political weighting – however, individual polls tend to be far more erratic – you only have to look at the 6 point leap in the Conservative vote in this month’s poll. Until we start seeing more polls showing an eleven point Tory lead it’s probably best to put this one down as an outlier, rather than a Conservative surge.

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