One of the refrains made in response to the recent spate of opinion polls is that they don’t really capture what’s going on in the marginals – the real battlgrounds where the election will be fought. Well, now we have a YouGov/Channel 4 poll which specifically covers 60 key marginal sets, and it provides more evidence that Labour are closing ground on the Tories. Here are the headline figures, compared to the last marginals poll for Channel 4, a year ago:
Conservatives — 39 (down 4)
Labour — 37 (up 1)
Lib Dems — 35 (up 2)
And YouGov’s Peter Kellner provides a useful explanation of what they mean:
"The swing is down to 6.5 per cent. That is higher than the national swing – 4.5 per cent in YouGov’s latest Britain-wide poll – but not enough to win every target seat.
If we apply this swing to each Labour marginal, the Tories would win 52 out of the 60 seats. Add that to the 43 Labour super-marginals, where Labour’s majority last time was below 6 percentage points, and the Tories would capture 95 seats overall from Labour.
Not enough to win an overall majority."*
Aside from that, there’s a mixed and sometimes puzzling bunch of below-headline findings. To encourage Labour: Brown’s approval rating has actually gone up over the past year, and he’s judged to be the best leader to take us out of our economic difficulties. And to encourage the Tories: 58 percent of people think it’s time for a change of government, and the Conservatives are trusted more on the economy. There’s plenty more besides, so just click here to check it out.
* As Tim Montgomerie points out, this poll suggests that the Tories would also need to win an extra 21 seats from the Lib Dems to get an overall majority.