Director of Political and Social Research

Our latest daily polling figures for the Sun (fieldwork 18th-19th March) are:

  • Conservative 38%
  • Labour 31%
  • Liberal Democrat 19%
  • Others 12%

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The Conservative lead remained at around 4 points for most of the week, but moved back up to 7 points in our Sunday Times poll, the highest it has been since the beginning of March. On a uniform swing a seven point lead would leave the Conservatives the largest party in a hung Parliament, but if the Conservatives outperform in marginal seats, it is possible that this could deliver a Tory majority. As yet it is only one poll, so it would be wise to wait until later in the week to see whether the boost in Conservative support is sustained.

We can be more confident about the increase in support for the Liberal Democrats, who have moved from an average of around 17% or 18% a week ago to around 20% in this week’s polls. This appears to be on the back of their Spring Conference last week and the publicity around Nick Clegg’s speech. Traditionally this pre-election period is often difficult for the Liberal Democrats – the media tend to concentrate upon the horse race between Labour and the Conservatives with the third party being pushed out of the narrative. When the election is actually called and broadcasting restrictions force the news to give them proportionate coverage, they normally recover again. The figures this week show what the Liberal Democrats are able to achieve with a bit of positive publicity.

The news this week has been dominated by the British Airways strike. Our Sun poll in the week found 59% thought the strike was unjustified and our Sunday Times polling suggested the government’s attitude towards the strike was failing to please either side – 35% wanted them to condemn it more strongly, 30% thought they should have remained neutral and only 18% thought they had the balance right.

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