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Has the Brown bounce run out of steam?

July 31st, 2007

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    And bleak news for the Lib Dems from Populus and CR

There are still lots of smiling Gordons to illustrate our main article this morning but not quite on the same scale as recent polls have suggested. The surveys are from two pollsters who have hardly figured as successive YouGov and ICM polls have reported big leads for Labour in the past three weeks.

Populus in the Times has with comparisons on its last poll at the start of the month CON 33% (-1): LAB 39% (+2): LD 15% (-3)

Communicate Research in the Independent has compared with its last survey carried out before Gordon moved into Number 10 CON 34% (-3): LAB 37% (+5): LD 16% (-2)

Both pollsters operate in a similar manner. Both use the telephone and very often their fieldwork is carried out by ICM; both use past vote weighting to ensure politically balanced samples and both give a value to voting intention responses based on how likely it is that respondents say they will vote.

Compared with ICM Populus operate a past vote weighting formula that is slightly more favourable to Labour. So if today’s survey had used ICM weightings my back of an envelope calculation suggests that we would be seeing a 4% or 5% Labour lead.

A key factor in the CR poll is that just 47% of Labour supporters said they were “certain to vote” compared with 64% of Tories and 53% of the Lib Dems. As far as I can see the Labour proportion of “certains” is the lowest in any CR poll this year. At the end of April, just before the local elections, the pollster found that 67% of Labour supporters were in the “certain” category.

    So while Labour has expanded significantly its overall base of support since Gordon came the newer supporters might be less certain of their intention – suggesting volatility

There will of course be comparisons with the YouGov poll in Friday which had Gord’s party 9% ahead. The internet pollster does not weight by whether people say they are certain to vote and this possibly explains why its lead is so much larger.

The big losers this morning are undoubtedly the Lib Dems who have seen drops in their shares from both firms – further confirmation that a number of Labour supporters are returning home now that Tony Blair is not leading them.

These new numbers should slightly ease the pressure on Cameron and my guess will make a 2007 general election less likely. The range of general election betting markets is here.

Mike Smithson






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