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Labour level-pegging in Glenrothes: ICM

September 21st, 2008

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But will the polls be as wrong as they were in Glasgow East?

A night of four polls all doing very different things has been finalised with an ICM survey in Glenrothes, scene of the upcoming by-election, which suggests that Labour is in for a hard fight.

In the seat that adjoins Brown’s and where the party had a 10,600 majority at the general election ICM found that both Labour and the SNP were on 43% each. That’s fine except as the paper reminds us a similar poll by ICM ahead of the Glasgow East by election had Labour 14% ahead. The only other poll in that election was reporting a Labour victory by 17%

But the numbers that are highlighted most by the Mail on Sunday on its by-election poll is the response to this: “If the Glenrothes by-election was a vote of confidence on Gordon Brown how would you vote”. The response: SNP 44%: LAB 41%: LD 8%: CON 5%

In another poll a YouGov study of 1,200 Labour members, suggests that a majority (53%) view the PM as “indecisive and dithering” while 34% thought he has “an exciting vision for the future”.

About 40% of the members want immediate leadership contest, against 52% who are opposed. Among potential successors, David Miliband is clear favourite – backed by almost a quarter, ahead of Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Justice Secretary Jack Straw on 13%.

Politicians always look for the good news and there’s little doubt that the ComRes poll showing Labour’s deficit is down to 12% will give real cheer to delegates at the party conference in Manchester. They will seek to dismiss the mega PH-YouGov marginal seats survey with a 34,000 sample because the field-work took place in July. That suggested and reported seat-by-seat a Tory majority of 146.

    As I noted yesterday polling at conference time should be treated with care. The broadcasters are under an obligation to give extended coverage and this usually produces a boost like the one that the Lib Dems have enjoyed. We really do need to wait until the end of October.

Whatever – polling which had got dead boring because the findings were almost all the same has got interesting again. Watch out next week for Brown’s conference bounce which will probably be eclipsed the week after by Cameron’s.

Mike Smithson






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