YouGov have also published a general poll today, carried out on Wednesday and Thursday. The results are fairly unremarkable and the topline figures (Con 40 Lab 32 LD 17 Oth 11 – no breakdown on others) are being debated over at LabourHome.
Brown is five points behind Cameron on the “best PM” question but YouGov had a similar “forced choice” question in their August tracker, which gave Cameron a 7-point lead.
Buried in the detail, however, are some stats that are of particular interest given recent events and what is to come next year. The regional breakdown (health warning: these are TV regions, not official regions) shows that Brown has a thumping 21-point lead over Cameron in Scotland. Even more important is the contrast with Blair, who manages only a 2-point lead north of the border.
In the Midlands & Wales region, Brown has a narrower 4-point lead – but, crucially, Blair is a full seven points behind Cameron.
These two regions are the only two where the difference between the Brown-Cameron lead and the Blair-Cameron lead is more than the margin of error. In other words, the two regions where Labour will get the biggest boost if Blair leaves and Brown takes over are the two that go to the polls next May.
This may go some way to explain why Welsh and Scottish MPs are so keen for a change before then.
One other thing is worth noting, however, which is that Scotland is the one region where more voters believe that Brown will take the government in a different direction to Blair. That may be why he’s more popular there, which is a potential pitfall if he fights a leadership campaign saying that he will be more of the same.