What festive joy do the pre-Christmas polls bring? The weekly average of the daily You Gov polling last week shows a Labour lead bigger than at any time since October. Sure, it’s nothing to write home about – just 2% – but lifts Labour as the Tories continue to languish around 32%. Labour strategists will be hoping that they can push their 34% up to 35% or higher in the new year. Do that and they’re in with a shot at an overall majority next May, given our quaint old voting system.
The other party celebrating last week’s polls must be the Greens. They’ve ended the year with yet another record level of support. At 7.4% they’re now a clear percentage point ahead of the Lib Dems who they overtook at the beginning of the month. The demoralised Lib Dems must be wondering when their slide will bottom out – if ever – as they hit another record low level of support. The clear danger facing them now is that if the wider public clock on to the fact they’ve slipped below the Greens they may haemorrhage more votes in that direction. Expect extra publicity to be given to Clegg in the new year by the media therefore.
Meanwhile, Ukip remains on 15%, two or three percentage points below the peak they hit in mid-October. The stark difference in the age profile of Ukip and Green Party voters bears out their respective stereotypes.
% support in the various age groups
Ukip gains over one in five of voters aged over 60. As their support is also skewed towards men the party indeed looks like the home of choice for the grumpy old man. In a mirror image, the Greens have the support of around one in five of voters under 25. The good news for Ukip however (and bad for the Greens) is that old folk tend to vote whereas young ones don’t. And there’s more of them anyway. Geographically, support for the Greens is fairly evenly distributed across England with its best area being London. Ukip’s strongest area is the south outside London.
But in Scotland both Ukip and the Greens are polling only around 4%. There, the SNP’s lead over Labour – of 43% to 27% last week – looks to be holding up well.