I didn’t get chance yesterday to do a full rundown of the Sunday Times poll, so with full tabs long since up, here are a couple of things worth noting.

1) The problems of the new child benefit rules. The principle of withdrawing child benefit from households with a higher rate taxpayer remain very popular, with 64% of people supporting it and only 25% opposed. However, the practicalities whereby a household with two earners paying basic rate could have a higher income than a single higher rate taxpayer, yet still get child benefit, is still seen as unfair by 68% of people.

2) Perceptions of coalition. In principle 22% of people now think that coalitions are a better form of government than single party government, 55% think single party government is better. 21% of people say that the experience of the current coalition government has made them more positive about coalition, 39% more negative (ideally of course there would a “attitudes towards the principle of coalition” question from before the last election to compare things to, but alas, I couldn’t track one down)

3) Selective education. 37% of people would like to see more schools select by academic ability, 20% are happy with existing grammar schools to stay but oppose any expansion, 27% think the existing grammar schools should be opened to children of all abilities. There was a surprisingly positive response to the idea of re-introducing the assisted places scheme, suppored by 67% of people.

4) Religion. 12% of people think religion is more often the cause of good in the world compared to 58% of people who think it is more often the cause of evil. Conversely, only 17% think Britain is too religious while 36% think it is too secular (the apparantly paradox is probably a difference between thinking globally, and the thoughts of terrorism and armed conflict linked to religion that would almost certainly have come to some people’s minds, and thinking locally)

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 41%, LDEM 7%, Others 15%. It’s a four point lead for Labour and a very low score for the Lib Dems, the lowest since last month.

Normal caveats apply, it could the start of a trend, or it could just be normal margin of error – we’ve had one 4 point and one 5 point Lab lead this month, and a poll last month showing the Lib Dems at seven, and in both cases things were back to rather more normal figures the next day.

That said, while YouGov’s daily polls are flitting between Labour and Conservative leads due to normal variation within the margin of error, we are seeing rather more Labour leads than Tory ones, and rather bigger Labour leads than Tory ones, suggesting the underlying position is a small Labour lead of a point or so (the average Labour lead in YouGov’s polls so far this month is 1.5 points).


There is a new ComRes poll in the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror tomorrow, if I recall correctly it’s only the second non-YouGov of February given that all the other companies’ fieldwork dates seem to have started clustering towards the end of the month.

Topline figures, with changes from ComRes’s last online poll a month ago, are CON 39%(+1), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 10%(-1), Others 13%(nc). The changes from the previous ComRes poll are insignificant, but for the record it’s the first time ComRes’s online polls have shown a Tory lead since October 2010 and supports the conclusion that the polls are pretty neck and neck.

UPDATE1: Hold the presses. ComRes’s press release said the Conservatives were one point ahead, but the actual tables are here and it looks to me as if Labour are one point ahead (pages 19-21 of the pdf). Let me double check.

UPDATE2: Waiting for Andrew Hawkins to have a check of the tabs

UPDATE3: According to Andrew the topline figures were right, the tabs were wrong, so back to business as usual. Corrected versions of the tables should be up soon if not already there.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%. We seem to have settled into a rather steady picture of the two main parties around about neck-and-neck, though my impression is we’ve seen the inklings of a slow drift back towards Labour over the last few weeks. The next big planned “event” in British politics is the budget in just over a month – perhaps that will break the polldrums… unless, of course, something unexpected comes along before then…

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, a one point Conservative lead. This follows yesterday’s poll which had a four point Labour lead. The two main parties still appear to be pretty much neck-and-neck in YouGov’s daily polling, but the fact that we’re getting slightly more Labour leads than Tory ones, and slightly bigger Labour leads than Tory ones, suggests that the underlying position is probably a small Labour lead – perhaps a point or so.