On questions of his strength as a leader and readiness to be PM, the Labour leader is up significantly since last month
Was the YouGov poll released on Sunday, showing a 4-point lead for Labour, evidence of a real change in attitudes? Today's voting intention poll is back to level-pegging, and I wrote yesterday suggesting our previous poll was accurate in recording a brief post-debate bounce which would probably fade.
We now have a new poll for Red Box confirming that indeed attitudes to Miliband have changed. We asked four tracker questions which we last asked seven weeks ago. In that period, Miliband has gone up by significantly more than the margin of error on every measure. "Has or has not made it clear what he stands for?" In February it was Net -23, now it's Net -9. "Has he been a strong or weak leader of his party?" His 'strong' rating was Net -37 and is now Net -19. Has he been decisive or indecisive? His 'decisive' rating has moved from Net -34 to Net -15. Finally, "would he or would he not be up to the job of Prime Minister?" Net -36 moves to Net -10.
These numbers are not in themselves good, but without question they represent a big and meaningful shift. The Tories are betting heavily that 'leadership' is the key to this election, but the second Obama election (where the exit polling showed Romney winning on 'leadership' but losing heavily on 'cares about people like me' – as we all know Romney still went on to lose the election) reminds us of the importance of Miliband leading on values.