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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Poll Watch: July 2007
PM Gordon Brown
July was the first full month of Gordon Brown as prime minister

In the latest monthly Poll Watch, the BBC's political research editor David Cowling casts his expert eye over July's political opinion polls:

Much has been written about the Gordon Brown opinion poll "bounce" (more of that later) but there have been a much wider range of issues examined in July's polls.

The month began with an ICM poll for Woodnewton Associates (sampled 1-3 July) asking whether, in the context of climate change, it was a good or bad idea for the government to increase capacity for the number of flights allowed at UK airports.

Some 60% thought it a bad idea whilst 35% thought it a good one.

The month began encouragingly for Gordon Brown with a Populus/BBC Politics Show poll (sampled 4-5 July).

When people were asked whether they preferred to have Tony Blair rather than Gordon Brown "leading the country at this time" (ie in the immediate aftermath of the Glasgow/London bomb plots), 60% disagreed compared with 32% who agreed.

Marriage views

CommunicateResearch, for the think-tank Theos, (sampled 6-8 July) found 71% agreed that the attempted bombings in Glasgow and London "have given Islam a bad name" but also found 60% who agreed that "Islam is fundamentally a religion of peace but fanatics have interpreted it in a violent way".

Following the final report of the Conservative Social Justice policy group published earlier in the month, two polls tested public attitudes towards marriage and the family.

Populus for the BBC's Daily Politics (sampled 11-12 July) found that 56% disagreed with the statement "children brought up by a single parent are more likely to get into trouble than children brought up by married parents".

And there was a significant gender divide over this: 48% of men disagreed, compared with 64% of women.

ICM for the Sunday Telegraph (sampled 11-13 July) found that the institution of marriage was personally important to 80% of respondents: that 57% thought it was right for government to encourage marriage; and that 70% agreed it was better for parents of children to be married.

However, 73% believed unhappily married parents should divorce rather than stay together (a view supported by 68% of men and 78% of women).

Whereas opinion was fairly evenly divided over tax breaks for married couples that are not available to unmarried couples (49% thought these were right, 44% thought they were wrong), 59% thought tax advantages would not succeed in lowering the divorce rate.

Truth and trust

The BBC found itself on the receiving end of public criticism following the controversy surrounding pictures of the Queen which were used to promote a forthcoming documentary.

An ICM poll for the Guardian (sampled 20-22 July) resulted in 59% saying they trusted the BBC less than they used to, and 67% disagreeing with the view that "the BBC's job is to entertain, even if it means not always telling the truth".

As to the central issue of current British politics - the arrival of Gordon Brown as prime minister - voting intention polls this month continued to suggest a positive reaction.

The table below gives the average of monthly polls between April-July, 2007.

By May, Labour recovered from its dire performance in April but was still trailing the Conservatives.

By June they were neck and neck and in July found themselves ahead of the Conservatives for the first month since April 2006.

No. of polls Con Lab Lib Dem

April 4 37% 29% 21%

May 5 36% 33% 19%

June 5 36% 36% 17%

July 6 34% 39% 17%

Political polling tends to go on holiday during August so we will probably have to wait until September to discover whether the "Brown bounce" is a temporary phenomenon or if it marks a more significant shift in party support.




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



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