An ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph has the Conservatives re-asserting their lead over Labour after the narrowing of the gap between the two main parties over the last month. The ongoing row within the Conservative party over grammar schools does not appear to have damaged their standing in the polls – if anything the publicity may have boosted them. The headline voting intention figures in the poll, with changes from ICM’s last poll in the Guardian a fortnight ago are CON 37%(+3), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 21%(nc). The poll was conducted between May 30th and 31st.

The poll found a narrow lead for Gordon Brown on the best Prime Minister question (though it appears to have been a straight choice between Brown and Cameron, not the usual three way option of Brown, Cameron, Campbell.)

Asked which man they trust to deal with various issues Brown leads on “hard issues” like dealing with terrorism. running the economy (by a large margin), and taxation, while Cameron leads on “soft” and public service issues like the NHS, schools and climate change. The exception to the pattern is Iraq, where Cameron has a marginal lead. In terms of the public image the normal pattern that we’ve become used to over the last year emerges. Brown is seen as the more experienced, competent and strong leader. Cameron is seen as the more trustworthy, forward looking, in touch, caring, inspiring and likeable.

Meanwhile YouGov has a poll of Labour party members and trade unions in the Sunday Times, measuring voting intention in the ongoing Labour deputy leadership contest. Hilary Benn’s lead in the earlier polls has now evaporated, with Alan Johnson equalling Benn amongst party members (both are on 24%), with Harriet Harman moving into third place on 17%. Amongst trade unionists Johnson now leads Benn by xxx. With Johnson also ahead amongst MPs (assuming they vote for the candidate they nominated, though in reality we know some have already jumped ship from one candidate to another) the overall first preference votes will, on the basis of this poll, be Johnson 24%, Benn 20%, Harman 18%, Hain 14%, Cruddas 14%, Blears 10%.

However, from there on in second preferences come into play, here Benn and Johnson are almost identical.amongst members, but Been does somewhat better than Johnson amongst trade unionists (though to some extent what will be because Johnson already has the most first preference votes). It looks as though, on the current polling figures, it could be tight between Johnson and Benn. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the poll was conducted prior to the televised Newsnight debate between the six candidates, which could well have shifted opinion.

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