Tonight’s ComRes poll for the Independent has figures of LAB 43% (+4) CON 31% (-1) UKIP 9% (-1) LD 8% (-2).
My first point would be to disagree with the analysis from the Independent that the Rennard affair is what has led to this low share (even by their low recent standards) for the Lib Dems. The fieldwork took place from Friday to Sunday, and it is very unlikely that the vast majority of the public picked up on the story until it blew up on Sunday night. Personally I doubt the Lib Dems will be affected too much from the story- they are already in core vote territory- but we will get our first clear indications in some of the midweek YouGov polls.
The standout figure from this poll is the Labour share going up 4%. Unfortunately there are no followup questions in the poll regarding specific issues such as the 10p tax rate, so we are unable to see exactly what may have driven this rise. It could be as simple as the fact that the voters are growing more and more disillusioned with the Coalition, and are naturally turning to the main party of opposition- Labour’s challenge is retaining these voters all the way to 2010.
There are a few amusing sub-samples- for instance Labour being 2% ahead in the South East- and Labour having 64% of the 18-24 age group vote (on a very small sample size)- but nothing seriously worth analysing. On a bigger sample size, it is interesting to note that the Conservatives have stopped their recent trend of being far less popular with female voters- in this poll, there is a higher percentage of women than men who say they will vote Conservative. This may be worth keeping an eye on over the next few polls.
It does seem that the Labour lead has settled somewhere between 10-15 points, which Ed Miliband will be delighted with. He must be aware however, that David Cameron enjoyed similar leads in his own years before his first general election. The importance of Labour continuing to provide effective opposition cannot be understated as we move into the final two years of this Parliament.