Last night saw publication of two new polls on voting intention. I’m not too sure how much use they are when we’re potentially 4 years away from the next general election but I suppose the polls are a useful indicator of how a government is doing.
The first is a Populus poll for the Times. This is their first poll since a few days after the Budget. It gives figures as follows:
CON 39%(nc), LAB 37%(+4), LIBDEM 14%(-4).
The second is a YouGov poll for the Sun and that gives topline numbers of:
CON 41%, LAB 38%, LIBDEM 12%
Given how far away we are from another election, YouGov also more usefully produced an approval rating calculated by deducting the number of people who disapprove from the number of people who approve of the current Government.
This shows a rating of minus 8 as 37% approve and 45% disapprove.
So what, I hear you ask. What does that mean to us, idiot blog-writer? What are you getting at?
Well, the above numbers on their own don’t mean a lot. But the Tories only have a 2 or 3% lead with a margin of error of +/- 5%. So, in theory, Labour could now have a lead of 2 or 3%. This with a rudderless opposition in the middle of a leadership battle. This with no stable shadow cabinet selected. This with no strategic plan of attack from Labour.
So it leads me to ask what happens to those numbers in October, November or December? We’re now heading into the conference season. On 25th September, the Labour Party will select it’s Leader. After that, the Parliamentary Labour Party will return from the short recess and choose a shadow cabinet of people who are guaranteed to be in post for two years. Then the cuts promised by the Coalition will start to happen. People will begin to see, from their wage-slips and the money in their bank accounts or wallets, the effects of those cuts. A unified and stable Labour opposition will begin to produce a coordinated strategy to fight against the Coalition Government.
This will happen just in time to debate the Spending Review and the Strategic Defence Review. The polling numbers we’re looking at right now are taken with an unstable. disjointed Labour party currently reorganising and restructuring after the election defeat. What will happen to those numbers when the Opposition is stable, unified, and on the attack?
How long before the polls show a significant lead for Labour and cracks begin to appear in the Coalition?