Are things this bad for Labour?
A fair amount of coverage of Jackie Ashley’s revelation in The Guardian that Labour could come out the other side of next election with as few as 120 MP’s. Substantively, Ashley’s point that the Conservatives divisions on Europe will do them little damage this side of the election is correct in my eyes. Whether her private polling data is accurate is another thing; one thing is clear that it will have been given to Ashley to forces within the Labour Party hostile to Gordon Brown’s leadership and wanting a change in leader.
So, the ‘source’ we can safely assume has a vested interest in leaking said ‘private poll’. Actually, the polls have arguably shown a slight advance in Labour support with high-20’s support now becoming the norm. This is in no way enough of a recovery to signify an game-changing surge in an election; indeed, without a leadership change I would argue such a moment won’t occur but it certainly mitigates heavily against the ‘wipeout’ scenario posited by this poll.
Also, another factor that might well tilt the scales slightly in Labour’s favour is the aforementioned influence of UKIP. Another vested interest in leaking this poll is that if Labour looks like it is heading for a wipeout voters who feel strongly on Europe and don’t like Cameron’s hash of a policy might well feel safer voting UKIP as opposed to Conservative. They will feel that Labour is finished in any case so can vote on the issue they want too; such a scenario will, of course, further chip away at the Conservative vote.
For the Liberal Democrats polls like this make things much harder; Labour voters now have to be pretty disgusted to feel they can afford the luxury of a protest vote for us, especially in seats where the Conservatives are a menace which if this poll is accurate is most of them. All-in-all this ‘private poll’ has to treated with considerable caution and is not a true reflection of the state-of-play to my mind….