Fraser Nelson

A small step for Labour, not a giant leap

A small step for Labour, not a giant leap
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I had expected Ed Miliband to do pretty well in the polls. He's unknown, and voters haven't had a chance to dislike him yet. That's not an insult – familiarity breeds contempt in politics, and the public are normally quite quick to give a new guy the benefit of the doubt. Witness the Clegg bubble. But tomorrow's Guardian shows precious little sign of a conference bounce.

The two parties were level before the conferences – a remarkable achievment for a leaderless party. The Tories took three years to do the same. It was one of many reasons that inspired our cover story last week, "Labour leaps forward". The illustration, by Morten Morland, was a horse without a rider. What might Labour achieve with a jockey?

Other polls may be kinder to Miliband, but this one suggests no conference bounce. A YouGov poll on Monday put Labour ahead by one point, this ICM/Guardian one by two points (37-35). I had expected a Labour lead of up to ten points before Christmas. But it may well be a slow burner.