A poll for tomorrow’s Observer has some stunning results, with the Tories’ support collapsing from 43% last month to 37%, and Labour’s increasing by 5 points to 31%. The Ipsos-Mori poll has the gap between the two main parties now at six points. It’s the lowest Conservative lead for more than a year.
Some words of warning: these polls are of course subject to three to five point margins of error and should always be treated with caution. Moreover, this could be an anomoly and it will be important to see how other polls hold these numbers up. Plus, the numbers are not exactly current: this poll was conducted before the Queen’s Speech but has only now been published.
UK Polling Report‘s swing calculator shows that these results, if translated to a general election, would bring:
Conservatives: 288 seats (+90)
Labour: 286 seats (-70)
Liberal Democrats: 45 seats (-17)
That would result in a hung Parliament, with the Tories 38 seats short of a working majority.
If there’s something of value to read into this poll, then it must once again be that the Tory lead is vulnerable and that the arguments are there to be won. Willie Bain’s campaign and result in Glasgow North East brought a few days of more positive news for Labour, and the Sun’s bullying of the party and the Prime Minister is rallying some people to the cause.
“There can be little doubt that this is a great poll for Labour. To get to within just six points at this stage will provide real heart to the party. Just under a week ago I was predicting this when I observed that polls taken immediately after by elections almost always produced boosts for the party that did best. That, I believe is what happened here. The big question is whether this will be sustained and picked up by other pollsters. It will be recalled that Labour saw a big boost in last weekend’s ICM poll where the fieldwork took place at exactly the same time as this one.”
When Labour articulates its message well, people are still willing to respond. I found that today on the doorstep. What we should bear in mind now is that the gap in these polls will increasingly narrow over the coming months as the election approaches and issues are further discussed and policies scrutinised.
As if we ever needed reminding, all is to play for.