Peter Hoskin

Those strange post-conference polls

Those strange post-conference polls
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So what's the deal with the opinion polls we've been seeing in the newspapers recently?  There was some hubbub in Tory circles yesterday over the fact that two weekend polls – YouGov for the Sunday Times and ComRes for the Indy on Sunday – had Labour either gaining ground on the Tories or a maintaining boosted level of support around the 30 percent mark.  What had happened to the 19 percent lead that the Tories enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of their conference?  Had the Labour conference really been more successful than the Tory one, despite all appearances?  I've heard these, and similar questions, doing the rounds over the past couple of days.

I rather suspect that there's some volatility involved in all this.  For starters, conference boosts tend to evaporate very quickly indeed – and while that may not explain why Labour's rise has solidified somewhat, it probably accounts for the Tory half of the equation.  As for Labour's boost, you can only speculate.  The learned Anthony Wells thinks it may be due to Gordon Brown's response to the Legg letters, but a hundred different people seem to have a hundred different theories.  Besides, the position is far from terrible for the Tories: they're still around 10 points ahead, and they're consistently hitting 40 percent plus again, after a short spell in the 30s during September.

Overall, though, I wouldn't read too much into it all.  Far better to wait until Parliament has been sitting for a while longer, and politics – as well as the polls – has been given a chance to settle.