Latest Poll Information for 24 March
|Party||BBC Poll Tracking||LSE Poll Tracking|
|Per cent||Per cent|
|Last Change||21 March||24 March|
Today marks the first clear change for all the parties’ support in our measure since we began tracking polls in early March. Labour falls two points to 30 per cent support; and the Conservatives and the Lib Dems also fall by two percent each. The Tory lead over Labour stays rather consistent though, at 6 per cent.
The big winners from the scandal seems to be the ‘Other’ parties, whose combined support rises sharply from 10 per cent to 16 per cent since Monday. At this stage before a general election this is an unprecedentedly high number and suggests that the parties without MPs in Parliament at present may be able to maintain their support without being subject to the usual general election squeeze. For the Tories, UKIP and the BNP are now an important threat on the right. And for Labour and the Liberal Democrats the Greens may cost them key vote shares in close contests. Labour also has a close contest with the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, where the scandal really will not help them.
When looking at a 6 point Tory lead, remember that to get the parties to parity from here means only that Labour needs to gain 3 per cent and the Tories edge down by that amount. Labour also gets more MPs per million votes than the Tories (because fewer people vote in safe Labour seats than in Tory safe seats). So things are still close and Labour might take comfort that the BA strike and the Byers/Hoon/Hewitt scandal has not done more damage.
Labour will be hoping that today’s budget has enough good news in both to quieten the financial markets on the debt problem, and to offer voters some hope for the future under Brown. Yesterday’s UK Polling Report had a close look at pre and post-budget election polls in the past. The last two budgets of the Brown government have resulted in a Conservative lead of 6 per cent (as now) rising into the mid-teens. But 2009 was disaster time and the UK has now pulled back. Playing the political business cycle has always meant saving the best for last, and within his limited room for manoeuvre we can expect Alistair Darling to do his bit for this esoteric art.
Looking at the performance of specific recent polls, it is apparent that Monday’s Harris Interactive poll puts both the top two parties down, with Labour on 28 per cent and the Tories on 35 per cent (which is reasonably in line with their previous polls). Opinium and Ipsos MORI polls from the last few days have both put Labour on 30 per cent and the Conservatives on 35 and 37 per cent respectively. The MORI poll, taken yesterday, might take into account the “lobbygate” scandal embroiling ex-Labour Ministers, but the Opinium poll predates this (but Labour’s share may have dropped owing to last weekend’s BA strike).
Yesterday the Evening Standard reported a new poll which puts the Tories on 40 per cent in London to Labour’s 31 per cent. This is an eight point swing in London – far higher than in the rest of the country.
Betting odds and the Election as of 24 March
|Conservative Majority||Labour Majority||No Majority||Conservatives Most Seats||Labour Most Seats||Lib Dems most Seats|
According to the betting firms, the only changes since our last check last week, are in the possibility of a hung parliament or a Tory majority. For Ladbrokes, the odds of a Conservative majority have dropped slightly to 4/7 (from 8/13 last week, but have gone up for Betfair, from 5/7 to 8/11. The trend for both companies’ prediction of a hung parliament is reversed; rising for Ladbrokes from 13/8 to 7/4 and from 15/8 to 9/5. There are no other changes other than Betfair again dropping the odds of a Lib Dem majority from 449/1 last week to 309/1.