Labour gaining votes from disillusioned Lib Dems

Poll shows Labour closing the gap on the Tories, while the public is lukewarm about the coalition so

Labour is benefiting from voters deserting the Liberal Democrats, according to a new poll which also shows that economic uncertainty is cutting into support for the coalition.

The Guardian/ICM poll, published today, puts the Conservatives at 38 per cent, down 1 point on last month's Guardian poll, and 8 points lower than last week's YouGov survey.

This latest puts Labour just 4 points behind the Tories, with 34 per cent of the vote. The Liberal Democrats are on 19 per cent.

While this is an improvement on the dire 13 per cent support for the Lib Dems in the YouGov poll, there is still evidence of disillusionment among Lib Dem voters, many of whom are to the left of the leadership. Although the two other parties retained the votes of nine out of ten of those who supported them in the election, the Lib Dems retained just seven out of ten, and another two said they had switched to Labour.

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The poll shows a near-equal split of opinion on economic issues. Although a narrow majority of 51 per cent think that Britain is likely to fall back into recession, 43 per cent disagree. If nothing else, this shows that the initial boost in poll ratings after the Budget has not been sustained. Such uncertainty at this stage -- before the painful effects of deep public-sector cuts begins to be felt -- does not bode well for future support for the government. Ninety-one per cent said that the cuts and tax rises would hurt.

About the government's performance so far, the public is lukewarm. Asked to award it marks out of ten, the total score is just 5.1. Support for the coalition is considerably weaker in Scotland and the north of England, and -- perhaps unsurprising, but certainly telling -- the coalition has far greater support among rich voters than among poorer people.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.