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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Poll Watch: June 2007
Failed car bomb attack at Glasgow Airport
The polls suggested public opinion favoured tougher terror laws

In the second of his monthly Poll Watch series, the BBC's political research editor David Cowling casts his expert eye over June's political opinion polls.

The month opened with government proposals for new police powers to counter the threat of terrorism.

These certainly proved controversial in Parliament and across the media, but Populus/BBC Daily Politics (sampled 6-7 June) appeared to find a very receptive public audience for such measures.

Some 75% of respondents supported "new police powers to 'stop and question' anyone they need to", and 65% agreed the government should put combating terrorism ahead of concerns for civil liberties.

Growing distrust

There was also evidence of a growing distrust of leading politicians in recent months.

MORI (sampled 8-10 June) asked about the trustworthiness of party leaders and compared their findings with those from September 2006 when the same question was asked.

Tony Blair's ratings were virtually unchanged during the period - 60% untrustworthy last September and 61% now.

However, David Cameron's "untrustworthy" rating had increased 17 points - from 29% to 46%, Gordon Brown's from 39% to 49%, and Menzies Campbell's from 22% to 33%.

2012 logo

MORI also found that 79% of people had seen the new London Olympics 2012 logo, and among these 68% disapproved of it.

We are familiar with polls that ask people which party they intend to vote for, but occasionally pollsters ask people which party they most closely identify with.

Guardian/ICM (sampled 15-17 June) did precisely that and found 34% of respondents identifying with Labour, compared with 24% Conservative and 18% Lib Dem.

Whereas both Labour and Lib Dem identifiers broadly match their respective poll ratings of recent months, Conservative identifiers fall significantly short of the party's support as expressed in voting intention.

Blair departure

The poll also found that while Labour and the Conservatives had more male than female identifiers (37%/31% Labour and 26%/21% Conservative), for the Lib Dems the figures were reversed (14%/21%).

MORI/Observer (sampled 14-20 June) provided their last monthly measure of satisfaction with Tony Blair before his resignation as prime minister: 33% said they were satisfied with him, compared with 60% who expressed dissatisfaction - a net figure of -27%.

By comparison, David Cameron's net satisfaction rating was
-5% and Sir Menzies Campbell's -12%.

But the biggest show in town this month was Tony Blair's departure, and Gordon Brown's arrival, as prime minister.

Three polls in the final days of June - by Mori for the Observer, Communicate Research for the Independent and ICM for the Guardian - gave the following voting intention figures:

Con Lab Lib Dem

Mori 36% 39% 15%

Com Research 37% 32% 18%

ICM 35% 39% 18%

Compared with the same polls in May, the changes were as follows:

Con Lab Lib Dem

Mori -1% +4% -3%

Com Research +2% +1% -1%

ICM +1% +6% -3%

The Conservatives appear broadly to have held their position, the Lib Dems have fallen back to Labour's apparent benefit and Labour also seems to have plundered support from some of the minor parties.

But these are early days and I think it will take some time for opinion to settle before we can judge whether there has been any lasting effect from the change in prime minister.

The ICM/Guardian poll (sampled 27-28 June) repeated a question that had been posed in January 2007.

It asked respondents which party was "putting forward the best policies" for each of nine issues.

Everyone will have their own explanation for these changes
David Cowling
BBC polls expert

Compared with January, when the Conservatives were judged to have better policies for six of the nine, this time ICM found Labour ahead of the Conservatives in eight out of the nine.

Labour's one point lead on the NHS in January became nine points in June. The Conservative one point lead in education in January became an 11 point Labour lead in June.

Everyone will have their own explanation for these changes, but they suggest to me that respondents were reflecting not a considered view of specific party policies but rather their general discontent with Labour in January 2007.

I have yet to find anything Labour did between January and June this year that satisfactorily explains, to me at least, the eight point improvement in their standing on the NHS.




SEE ALSO
Poll Watch: May 2007
30 May 07 |  UK Politics



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