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 A/V REPORTS
The BBC's Peter Snow
examines the implications of the latest polls
 real 56k

Saturday, 26 May, 2001, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Poll positions stay solid
A graph of the election opinion poll trends
David Cowling

The NOP/Sunday Times poll registers no change for the three main parties compared with one week ago.

Labour remains on 49%, the Conservatives on 30% and the Lib Dems on 14% - a Labour lead of 19%.

We look particularly to this poll throughout the campaign to assess whether any of the political punches traded between the parties throughout the week have had any impact on public opinion.

This latest survey is the third since the campaign started and they have shown all the volatility of an alpine glacier.

Icy stability

The first gave Labour 49% support, so did the second and so has the third.

The first gave the Conservatives 32%, whilst the second and third have put them on 30%. If this and the other campaign polls reflect the eventual outcome then Labour would appear set for another enormous majority.


However, 46% of NOP's respondents said that an even bigger Labour majority next time would be bad for the country (including a quarter of Labour supporters), compared with 31% who thought such an outcome would be good.

Any complacency on Labour's part as a result of these findings could well be dispelled by another poll finding: only 54% of respondents said they were certain to vote (down 4% from last week).

And the voting intention figures based solely on those certain to vote reduce Labour's 19% lead to one of 15% (Labour 48% - down 1%, the Conservatives 33% - up 3%, and the Lib Dems 13% - down 1%).

Conservative claims

The Conservative charge that National Insurance contributions would rise under Labour seems to have hit home with the public - 60% believe they will rise if Labour were re-elected.

But whilst Conservative opposition to the euro reflects majority public opinion (in this survey 61% said they would vote "no" in a referendum), they face a large measure of fatalism among those self-same people.

By 53% to 35%, they also said they expected Britain to join the single currency during the next parliament.

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