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YouGov: “8 percent LAB>CON swing in northern marginals”

November 27th, 2009

Does this show that marginals are behaving differently?

The first information about the YouGov poll of Northern marginals is just coming out.

We haven’t seen a report yet of the poll and much detail is missing but an editorial for tomorrow’s paper has been published and contains the crucial headline figures.

It notes that the Conservative party: “…. leads Labour by 42 per cent to 36 per cent in northern marginal seats. Indeed, the Tories appear to be doing better in marginals than they are nationally: the results reveal a swing in these seats of eight per cent since the 2005 election, as opposed to 6.5 per cent nationally.

But we suspect that, for David Cameron and his strategists, the most interesting statistic might be the only one that shows Labour ahead. Working-class voters in these seats favour Gordon Brown’s party by a margin of 40 to 38 per cent. In other words, Labour’s lead among its core voters in battleground seats has shrunk to only two points.

That is tantalising indeed, for it suggests that Mr Cameron is close to replicating Margaret Thatcher’s greatest electoral trick: poaching the votes of people who were previously regarded as the Labour faithful…”

What we don’t have yet are details of which constituencies were polls or when the survey was carried out. Assuming that it did take place this week it will shed further light on the poll that had been driving the media narrative – the MORI “Labour’s only six points behind” one.

Given the way that the September PoliticsHome poll was reporting very different pictures in marginals in different parts of the country this polling approach is very useful.

UPDATE: But the Tory national lead down to just 10%

CON 39%(-2)
LAB 29%(+2)
LD 19%(+1)
OTHERS 13% (-1)

So the YouGov national survey sees Labour close by four notches and is not that far off what Ipsos-MORI was reporting.

If it wasn’t for the marginals poll then the Tories might be feeling a bit uncertain tonight.

My guess, given this week’s Scottish YouGov poll putting Labour back to 2005 levels is that a signifcant part of the move to Labour in this latest national poll is north of the border.

I’m expecting the ComRes survey for the Independent to be after the weekend.

Mike Smithson