Friday, 24 December 2010

Tories finish 2010 behind Labour in every major poll

The final YouGov poll for 2010 has Labour continuing its lead over the Conservative Party. Government approval is also at the lowest since the coalition was formed.

This follows on from positive polls for Labour (and particularly bad ones for the Liberal Democrats) from Angus Reid, from ICM, from Ipsos/MORI, and from phone and online polls from ComRes.

The picture for 2010 can be summed up as follows:

  • The Liberal Democrats have lost vast swathes of their support since the election. In both Yougov and Angus Reid they are polling in the single digits. On a uniform national swing (which never happens, of course, but is a useful approximation) they would be reduced to a rump party of around 16 seats (over forty fewer than they have now);
  • Nick Clegg's personal popularity ratings have seen a spectacular rise and fall - almost certainly he is the big loser so far. He and his party must be concerned that it is they (and not the Tories) that have been the focus for much of the anger, not least from students. One theory that is blindly obvious to many outside their party is this: it is the Liberal Democrats, through their decision to support a Tory government that, let us not forget, failed to win a majority at the election, that has allowed the frankly dramatic programme of privatisation of the public sphere that we are now beginning to see.
  • Labour has, as some predicted, established a lead in polls. Ed Miliband will be pleased that he ends 2010 leading a party that is now clearly ahead according to every polling firm (something that wasn't apparent as little as a month ago).
  • It is worth mentioning that the turn-around in fortune for Labour is dramatic compared with the last change of government. Tony Blair's Labour Party managed to maintain a clear lead over the Tories in both ICM and MORI polling from their 1997 general election landslide until the summer of 2003 - six years - with only a temporary blip in September 2000 during the fuel tax blockades. David Cameron, by contrast, has managed to lose his party's lead within six months.
  • Miliband's party appear to have picked up significant support from those that voted Liberal Democrat in the General Election. Consequently, Labour have seen a significant jump in their position, from a general election share of less than 30% of the vote, to almost exactly 40% now - enough to win them a small but comfortable majority under current electoral boundaries.
  • The Conservatives have pretty much exactly maintained their position from the May election. This isn't a bad position for them to be in and suggests that they may have picked up support from some other areas (whether this is defectors from UKIP, the Lib Dems or other non-aligned voters is hard to tell).
  • However, it is worth noting that they have maintained a position that failed to win them a majority in the last election - something that should concern them and no doubt is a factor in Cameron's warm embrace of Clegg.

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