This is the eighteenth in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling fortunes are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the parties’ standings – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. If there can ever be a definitive assessment of the parties’ standings, this is it. Further details of the method we use to build our estimates of public opinion can be found here.
Conference season is approaching, traditionally a time when each party gains a week to bask in the sunshine of focussed and relatively uncritical media attention, often enjoying a brief polling boost from the experience (although last year’s had little effect). Over the coming weeks we will be updating our estimates more often than usual, taking advantage of the traditionally greater quantity of polling at conference season to get a handle on whether any party is gaining from the extra attention.
Labour will be happiest heading into the annual party shindigs, as for the fourth successive month they hold a stable lead of close to ten points over the Conservatives. This month we estimate Labour at 41.5%, down 0.1% on last month and the Conservative at 31.7%, unchanged on last month. The long suffering Lib Dems continue to languish, up marginally at 8.5%. We will see in coming weeks whether any of the three parties can succeed in using conference season to break the summer deadlock.
Robert Ford, Will Jennings and Mark Pickup