Posted by Chris Gilson and Patrick Dunleavy
Latest Poll Information for 2 April
|Party||BBC Poll Tracking||LSE Poll Tracking|
|Per cent||Per cent|
|Last Change||1 April||2 April|
Desperate journalists have been trying to big-up the mostly non-story of recent polls, most recently on Sky News last night. But our median smoothing measure shows that the Budget and its aftermath have caused only the slightest of dips in Labour’s support, and only slightly boosted the Conservatives out of the danger zone.
Remember that with the Liberal Democrats on at least 20+ per cent, and the other parties still running strongly at least at 10 per cent, the top two parties will certainly share no more of the poll than they did back in the 2005 general election – when they got 69 per cent. So the magic number for both the Conservatives and Labour is probably 35 per cent. For David Cameron drifting down to this level this would spell the implosion of all his hopes, and to be safe he really needs poll ratings of 40 per cent. Meanwhile for Labour rising to 35 per cent would mean certain victory, perhaps even a majority government again.
Current polls have lifted the Tories above last week’s highly dangerous 36-37 per cent level, but not by much. Similarly they have pushed Labour back a point or two from the hopeful 32-33 per cent level that put them in contention again. But it is wise to remember that a shift of 1 per cent in both parties’ support could still bring back something much more even. And whenever you see a Tory lead over Labour, remember that a 1 per cent shift can lop 2 points off that.
The BBC’s measure has updated with yesterday’s YouGov poll, putting Labour at 32 per cent and the Conservatives also on 38 per cent. Other recent polls have been less kind to Labour. Angus Reid and the Guardian’s polls from earlier this week put Labour on 28 per cent and 29 per cent respectively. That said, the TNS poll from earlier this week put Labour on 33 per cent. Also very interesting, is a possible upswing in Liberal Democrat support; potentially on the back of Vince Cable’s performance at last Monday’s Chancellor’s debate. Angus Reid and the Guardian/ICM poll put them on 22 and 23 per cent support – which is markedly higher than the 17 and 18 per cent that they have been sitting on for most of the last month.
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph has published a weakly argued piece attacking YouGov for ‘giving Labour an unfair advantage’. The strongly pro-Conservative paper argues that the pollster allegedly ‘adjusts’ its polls in ways that account for its consistently favourable-to-Labour outcomes. Peter Kellner at YouGov has published a full account of what the paper asked him, and how he replied.