Friday, 9 August 2013

Polling Snapshot

Just for information, especially bearing in mind that during the summer holiday period the opinion polls always go all over the place, I have been very carefully evaluating polls during the past several weeks. I thought it worth posting a short item just to summarise what has happened.

Nearly all polls have been showing a Labour lead over the Conservatives, in terms of national voting intention, of between four and eight percentage points. The majority of these have fallen within the 4-6% range. Now, bearing in mind that the wealthier folk are more likely to be away on holiday than others, this is an interesting development that I'd say has become a trend.

Probably the main cause of this reduction in Labour's lead has been the drop in UKIP support – which I think I was perhaps the only commentator to firmly predict would happen, all along. Probably the second largest factor has been Labour's inability to put forward a credible and defensible position regarding the economy, putting out mixed messages for a while and then falling silent.

Indeed, they have become just about silent on all topics for the past several weeks, allowing others (in particular the almost hyperactive Conservatives) to dominate the big media outlets for commentary. Although Chuka Umunna was around for a while, even he has now fallen silent – possibly because of his latest gaffe as revealed by Guido.

When (if?) the shadow cabinet come back before the public gaze, they might have devised between them a new message with some resonance, which would be a considerable improvement on the efforts so far in the Miliband era. Perhaps the polling might then shift a few points back in their direction.

Personally, I think this is possible, though my gut feeling is that they have lost so much credibility over these past few years that it is unlikely to last long, especially as it is nearly always easy to unpick Labour's claims – as we have seen so many times – so they are likely to be looking for a replacement slogan/line-to-take before very long...

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