After an amusing mountain of speculation, including vast amounts of twittering about the Conservative lead being down to 3 points according to “reliable sources”, Ipsos MORI’s monthly poll has finally turned up in the Observer. The topline figures are CON 43%(+6), LAB 26%(-5), LDEM 20%(+2).

The shift from MORI’s previous poll, which showed a Tory lead of only 6 points, is extreme. However, that poll was largely the result of a sample that had an unusually high proportion of 2005 Labour voters, so I expect this is largely a reversion to a more normal sample. I’ll have a proper dig around when the full tables turn up.

It’s very early, but we already have the figures for tomorrow’s YouGov/People poll, courtesy of their political editor Nigel Nelson’s twitter feed. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 40%(nc), LAB 28%(-3), LDEM 18%(+2).

While it shows a drop for Labour, this poll is very much a reverse from YouGov’s last – the one straight after the Pre-Budget Report which rather oddly showed a negative reaction to the PBR, but Labour nevertheless gaining four points. This largely reverses that movement.

In tomorrow’s papers I’m also expecting MORI’s “latest” monthly poll, though it would actually have been conducted a week ago.


New Angus Reid poll

Political Betting have a new poll by Angus Reid. The topline figures, with changes from their last poll, are CON 40%(nc), LAB 24%(+1), LDEM 20%(+1). Others are at 15%, down 3.

Overall there is no significant change from their previous poll. The Conservative lead is, needless to say, much greater than in most other recent polls, as the level of Labour support is lower. This is not a sign of some sudden Conservative recovery – Angus Reid have been showing the Tory lead up at this level all along – it’s just to do with different methodology.

Specifically Angus Reid assume no false recall when weighting their samples to recalled 2005 vote, which means their samples have fewer people who claim to have voted Labour in 2005 than phone pollsters do. For some reason they also tend to show a higher level of support for others – I’ve no clear explanation for that, it could be their question (they ask who people would “support”, not how they would vote) or it could be something entirely different.

Still to come this year we should have a YouGov poll for the Telegraph, which normally comes out the last Friday of the month (though it’s probably safe to assume it will be a different day this year!), a ComRes poll for the Indy, and Ipsos MORI’s monthly monitor, which was apparently conducted last weekend but has yet to be released into the wild. I expect, as was the case last month, that one of the Sunday papers is going to print it.

Interesting discussion between Don Paskini at LibCon, and John Rentoul (here, and responding to Don here).

John wrote that Labour’s decision to tax bankers bonuses was a further nail in the coffin of New Labour and their hard won reputation for economic competence, and that it would lose the goodwill of the types of voters in marginal seats that they need to win future elections, rendering them unelectable for a generation.

Dan replied pointing out correctly that the polls actually showed that higher taxes on the wealthy are popular, and the penalisation of city bankers especially so. John’s response was that they were popular in the short term, but would do much greater damage to Labour’s image in the long run.

I’ve some sympathy for John Rentoul’s view here. Polls on whether the public agree with a policy or not do not always tell the whole story. When looking at a policy there is the direct effect of whether people agree with it or not, and the indirect effect of what associating themselves with that policy will do to a party’s image.

The example I normally use is not taxing the wealthy, but immigration. Polls consistently show that immigration is an issue people care about, and that they want harsher restrictions upon it. Surely immigration would be a winning issue for the Conservatives? Not necessarily, since they have also spent the last four years trying to change their image to look less reactionary and “nasty”. If they made anti-immigration a key message, it might itself be popular, but would risk making them look bigoted and unpleasant.

It’s the same with taxing the rich. If tax hikes are necessary, polls always show that people much prefer them to hit the rich. Equally, penalising bankers is a route to easy popularity. The downside is that it risks making Labour look like a party that doesn’t like success or aspiration, an image that Tony Blair managed to shed.

It’s a balance though, and in this particular circumstance I don’t know if John is correct. It may be that the public’s desire to see the bankers cut down to size and appetite for taxes that apply to those richer than them outweigh the potential damage to Labour’s image – the reality is that in judging trade offs like this, polling can’t necessarily give you a firm answer.

ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian is out. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s previous poll at the beginning of the month, are CON 40%(nc), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 18%(-1). Others are on 11%.

After conflicting polls from YouGov and ComRes over the weekend this one is very much in line with YouGov. Like their Sunday Times poll it shows the Conservative vote steady, but Labour gaining support at the expense of the Liberal Democrats and others. This is the lowest lead in an ICM poll since December last year, and on a uniform swing would leave the Conservatives narrowly short of an overall majority.

As with other polling, ICM didn’t find any particular enthusiasm for the PBR. While once again the tax on bankers budgets was found to very popular, overall the PBR was viewed less positively. Only 12% of people thought it would make things better, compared to 19% who thought it would make things worse. Cameron & Osborne retained a lead on who would do a better job managing the economy, 38% to 31%, but this down from 18 points two months ago.