Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Recent Polls

Two polls last week seem to show that the Conservative lead is more than a blip. ICM in the Guardian had: Conservatives 38%, Labour 34% and the Lib-Dems 20%. YouGov in the Telegraph had Conservatives 38%, Labour 32% and the Lib-Dems 16%. Of course, the election is a long way off, and Labour has had a disastrous couple of months. On the issues Anthony Wells at UK Polling sees a “collapse in confidence in the government” rather than “any great surge in Conservative support”. (Then again, as the old adage has it: "Governments lose elections, Oppositions don't win them"). On the economy Labour is still ahead of the Tories (on 32%) but this is a fall of 17%, whereas the Conservatives are up only 2 points to 29%. The Conservatives have big leads on Tory core-vote issues such as immigration and law and order, but ICM also shows they are slightly ahead on education and health (YouGov has them ahead on education and just behind on the NHS). Labour is also ahead on inflation, interest rates, childcare, unemployment and housing. This does not suggest that Labour's position is irrecoverable.

ICM also asked the Brown Question: “If at the next election the Conservatives are led by David Cameron, Gordon Brown leads Labour, and Menzies Campbell (Ming Campbell) leads the Liberal-Democrats, how would you vote: Conservative, Labour, Liberal-Democrat, or for another party?” This produced the following result: Conservative 40%; Labour 31%; Liberal-Democrats 19%; Other 10%. But when asked: “As you know Gordon Brown is likely to take over from Tony Blair at some point before the next General Election. (Does this make you) more likely to vote Labour”? The result was: 26% were more likely to vote Labour with Blair and 41% with Brown. When asked who was more “trustworthy” Brown led Blair 40% to 26%; “looks to the future” gave Brown a 40% to 32% lead; “more style than substance” had Blair on 51% to Brown’s 31%; “more likely to tell the truth” had Brown on 44% and Blair on 18%; and “competent manager” had Brown leading Blair 51% to 27%.

It seems we simply don’t know what effect a Brown Leadership would have on voters. But the collapse of trust in Blair seems clear enough.


Blogger skipper said...

Yes, predicting opinions which have not yet been formed is a dodgy aspect of polling but it gives rise to the concern that quite a swathe of voters, especially Labour ones, expect Brown to be a big improvement on Blair. I know this is being a bit of a doomsayer but what if, as I suspect will be the case, Brown proves no better in post than his predecessor and pursues similar policies with similar attendant cock-ups? The resultant disillusion would be too damaging to Labour for this suppporter to begin to envisage.

1:02 pm  
Blogger politaholic said...

I think Brown will pursue similar policies: there is no great ideological gulf between Blair and Brown. There will, I think, also be plenty more PFI cock-ups down the line (and Brown is up to his neck in that). However, some of the cock-ups are not especially Labour's fault. The Home Office fiasco has probably been brewing for a very long time. But Labour are in office and have been for nine years so it is reasonable that they take the blame. Brown could at least give the impression of making a fresh start; he does not himself seem to be as sleazy as the Blairs and doesn't seem to be quite so interested in money; he could promote Miliband/Alexander/Balls to more senior Cabinet posts; he could get the troops out of Iraq. It might make a difference. Blair is just not trusted any more: he is plainly not seen as a "pretty straight kind of guy". But you are right, there is no guarantee that a Brown leadership will turn things round. (Then again there is no guarantee that Brown will be leader: Reid clearly intends a challenge; and if he does so there will be other candidates).

11:33 am  
Blogger Praguetory said...

- The Home Office fiasco has been brewing for some time - I think you are being far took kind. I hope that you are right that the Labour succession does not prove to be orderly. Looking forward to blood on the carpet.

3:39 pm  

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