Labour leading in latest Observer poll.

After months of Conservative mismanagement of COVID-19, the frustrations of the public are translating into polling results for Labour. Towards the end of last month we saw a poll that had Labour 42% to the Tories 39%, since then we’ve seen gridlock; sometimes neither party cracking 40%, and now we see Labour 40% to the Tories 38%.

Both parties are about in the same place. No party is consistently leading, the national polling average has the Tories just below 40% and Labour 1 point behind them. The result that would produce as a national swing is a hung parliament with neither party capable of stitching together a stable majority in the commons, the likely outcome being minority Conservative rule or indeed another general election.

It isn’t an observation original to me, but what we see happening in polling at the moment is a replication of the gridlock between Labour and the govt during the Brexit chaos in 2018/19. The fact Labour held a steady small lead over the govt and at one point was poised to win a majority under Jeremy Corbyn seems to have been erased from history, but numbers don’t lie.

The two most likely directions of travel from here are either a repeated (but lesser) case of the rally around the flag effect as the govt deals with a resurgent viral outbreak, or frustrations hitting fever pitch and Labour beginning to maintain a steady 1–3 point lead.

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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Toby Lipatti-Mesme

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Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.