News is now coming in on the wires that tomorrow’s ICM-Guardian poll will show the Tories taking a 10-point lead, on 39% to 29% for Labour, with the Lib Dems up to 22%.
No wonder the Guardian decided to hold over the voting intention figures and get a second front page splash from one poll. Polls allow the media to create news if it’s a slow day and this is a great example.
But does it mean anything? Obviously, we have not yet seen the internals. And the polls, after a long period of stability that has made political journalists despair, have suddenly become volatile, making for easy headlines and early drinks for the lazy hacks.
This makes the picture hard to judge and Friday’s YouGov tracker will be keenly anticipated.
For now, all we can say is that the last ICM poll, earlier in October, had the Tories on 38 points so 39 is not a huge shock. The main shift seems to have been Labour losing ground to the Lib Dems. Meanwhile, today’s Communicate poll had the Lib Dems on a shock low of 14 points – surely a blip but a full 8 points off? Mori were showing a surprise Labour lead, though that poll was conducted before coverage of the Tory tax proposals.
We hate to be boring but when the polls contradict each other, it’s best to wait and see. Something tells us, however, that tomorrow’s Guardian headlines will contain no such caveats.