Has Brown got big enough leads to outshine Tony?

Has Brown got big enough leads to outshine Tony?

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    Will today’s YouGov poll dampen the election speculation?

The promised YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph is out this morning and the numbers are nothing like the ones that the hoaxer, cj, tried to suggest on the site overnight Thursday-Friday. He is now banned permanently from publishing comments here.

The shares are with changes on the last YouGov poll at the weekend – CON 33%(-1): LAB 39%(nc): LD 16%(+1). So not much change except a one point boost for the Lib Dems and a one point drop for the Tories.

The 6 point margin is nothing on the scale of the polls in July and August showing a Labour lead in double figures and will probably take the edge off the general election speculation. And after the dramatic seven point drop in Labour’s YouGov lead in the final fortnight of August there’s no sign of any stability.

I don’t think there is enough from the polling trends for Brown to be confident of going to the country and securing a Labour majority bigger than he has got at the moment. If he can’t be sure of that then what’s the point?

A smaller Labour majority would look like a vote of no confidence. When Brown goes to the country he wants to totally destroy the opposition and, in spite of the numbers, there’s still a long way to go.

In a general election campaign the Tories and Lib Dems won’t be blanked out of the news agenda to the extent that we have seen since late May. Thus when the Tories managed to get reasonable coverage in late August the Labour lead almost evaporated. If I was advising Brown that would haunt me.

Remember also that even though polling methodologies are much more refined nowadays there’s still a tendency to overstate Labour. All the pollsters currently doing surveys on opinion in Britain showed bigger leads for Labour in 2005 than was actually achieved. The one that didn’t, NOP, was rewarded for its success in being spot on by getting sacked by the Independent.

One aspect, which I had not considered before was raised overnight in a post from ChrisD. She observed “I think that Brown has used the threat of an Autumn GE for a while to keep his own troops and the TUC in line while also attempting to destabilise the Conservatives and the Libdems.”

I think she is on to something there.

Mike Smithson

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