Sunday, 9 November 2014
Labour lead at 2: Labour 33%, Conservatives 31%, UKIP 17%, Lib Dems 8%, Green 5%
This week's poll of polls has Labour unchanged on 33%, the Tories down 2 on 31%, UKIP unchanged on 17%, the Lib Dems are up 1 to 8% and the Greens shed 1 point to finish the week on 5% overall.
I have decided to make my extrapolations fortnightly rather than weekly as of now on. This is due to the much larger sample size available as a result, which will reduce the margin of error and give a more practical picture as to where each party is doing best.
In recent days, Ed Miliband's leadership has come under severe scrutiny. This is because his approval ratings have sank to an all-time low as of late, with some polls putting him behind Nick Clegg, the politically toxic Lib Dem leader. Only 49% of Labour voters, and 17% of the electorate, approve of the job Mr Miliband is doing, compared to 51% of Labour and 77% of the public who disapprove.
In my view, Miliband has always been unpopular with the public, and yet Labour have maintained a small but consistent lead in the majority of polls. Even now when the party is in turmoil it still is ahead of the Conservatives. Leadership speculation is bound to achieve nothing but to damage the party and help neutralise the affect of the Tories' being a badly disunited party, which will make next year's election result even more unpredictable.
To put into context how fickle public opinion is, here is some polling that I obtained from YouGov as to how Labour would do under a different leader. The data is newly released and can be found here. I am only going to examine
how Johnson and Cooper would do, as they are the most likely challengers.
If Alan Johnson was the leader of the Labour Party, how would you vote?
So, as you can see, with Johnson as leader, Labour gets a very slight boost from the last YouGov poll, but the changes are well within the margin of error. There is no evidence at all to support the assertion that having Alan Johnson as leader would dramatically improve the chances of the Labour Party, according to this poll.
If Yvette Cooper was leader of the Labour Party, how would you vote?
So, it turns out that Yvette Cooper would in fact be doing worse than Ed Miliband currently is as leader. The Tories would race into a two point lead as opposed to being a point behind as they are now.
Either way, looking at the evidence, it seems to be that Miliband is going to be safe, and that any further speculation over the leadership is a fruitless exercise. Labour must take care not to descend into the bickering of the late Brown era, and if they do, the electorate will punish them savagely.