With an election likely to be called tomorrow, tonight’s polls paint a very mixed bag and are of course being interpreted in whatever way suits each member of the partisan blogosphere.
An ICM poll in tomorrow’s Guardian shows the gap between Labour and Conservatives down to just four points while Omnium in the Tory-leaning Daily Express has the gap at a solid ten points (39/29/17) while rumours suggest the nightly YouGov poll will also show a strong Conservative lead.
ICM has long been regarded as the most reliable of pollsters but it occasionally throws out an “outlier” number for one of the parties, possibly caused by sampling or weighting methodologies and the Labour figure might be down to this or it might show a genuine recovery in the party’s support as the election campaign dawns.
Omnium has its detractors and we’ll see if its numbers stack up on Polling Day while YouGov is also widely criticised though usually by the party or parties on the wrong end of one of its polls.
Sharp divergences in poll numbers always lead to agitation and a heady mix of euphoria and despair on sites like politicalbetting.com.
The fact remains that on the ICM numbers Brown has a chance while on the other numbers he has no chance.
The other key statistic is that 60% of the electorate (and most of those intending to vote I suspect) will watch the first of the television debates in just ten days time. Nick Clegg has a real opportunity as he is “first” in the debate.
IF he can perform and set the tone, this election may well have some twists and turns even yet.