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16 November 2010

Is the tide beginning to turn against the coalition?

Labour ahead in two consecutive polls for the first time since 2007.

By George Eaton

The latest YouGov poll will encourage the thought in Labour circles that the tide is beginning to turn against the coalition. The survey again puts Labour two points ahead of the Tories, the first time the party has led in two consecutive polls since 2007. The party’s rating (42 per cent) is also the largest share of the vote it’s had for more than three years.

Poll

Latest poll (YouGov/Sun): Labour majority of 20.

It could, as UK Polling Report’s Anthony Wells reminds us, be a short-term blip, but it’s noticeable that it comes after a period in which the coalition has taken some heavy hits on tuition fees and spending cuts. Just as striking is the fact that support for Labour has risen an impressive 13 points since the election, a reflection of the fact that the party’s brand is nowhere near as toxic as the Tories’ was. Miliband must restore Labour’s economic credibility but he is not charged with convincing significant sections of the electorate that his party is not homophobic, racist or sexist.

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New Statesman Poll of Polls

Poll

Hung parliament, Labour 5 seats short.

If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, the latest figures would give Labour a majority of 20 seats. That estimate doesn’t take into account the likely effect of the coalition’s planned boundary changes (which Labour peers narrowly failed to delay last night), which are likely to cost Labour a significant number of seats. According to a confidential briefing recently seen by Labour MPs, had this year’s election been contested under the new boundaries, the party would have lost 25 seats, nearly 10 per cent. The Lib Dems would have lost seven seats — more than 13 per cent of their total and the Conservatives 13 seats — just over 4 per cent.

There are big challenges ahead for Miliband, not least establishing a consistent line on higher education, control orders and taxation, but for now all the key indicators are pointing in the right direction.