by Stephen Tall on August 12, 2014
What a difference a month makes. In July, the Guardian’s ICM poll – the ‘gold standard’ – showed a narrow 1% Tory lead over Labour. Fast forward to August and Labour enjoys a solid 7% lead over the Tories, by 38% to 31%. The Lib Dems are in third place, unchanged on 12%, with Ukip trailing on 10%.
Three brief points:
1) Though I have high regard for ICM, that they report only once a month means it’s hard to know if this month’s score reflects a genuine increase in support for Labour at the Tories’ expense (not something other polls are showing) or is just random noise.
2) Lib Dems will be relieved to see the party’s ratings stable. I realise they’re stable at a rate half that we won at the last general election. But given it’s a month since the last poll showed us in double digits, at least the pollster with the best track record has us steady at c.12%: that’s something.
3) ICM shows there’s a pretty minimal ‘Boris effect’ among the public, a modest 3% up-tick in support, principally drawn from Ukip. In any case, I tend towards Antony Wells’ view of such hypothetical polling:
… I wouldn’t take “How would you vote with X as leader” questions too seriously anyway. People are rubbish at answering hypothetical questions, and here we’re expecting them to say how they’d vote with X as leader without knowing what changes X would make, what priorities and policies they’d adopt or anything else about what an X leadership would look like. They can be useful straws in the wind, but really, they are no more than that.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.