The Tories are ahead. That was the finding of YouGov’s poll for the Sunday Times yesterday, which handed David Cameron’s party a lead in their tables for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
But the real findings in YouGov’s data lie elsewhere. They offer the latest insight into how Ukip voters view the main political parties and their leaders. Like much recent news, it is not good for Ed Miliband.
By more than three to one Ukip voters trust David Cameron over the Labour leader on the nine issues YouGov track, which cover everything from health and education to the economy and immigration. Cameron leads Miliband among Ukippers on every issue – even the NHS.
Does this matter? On the one hand neither party leader wins much support from Ukippers – it is unlikely they will vote tactically and back Cameron in key marginals against Labour. Indeed support for Cameron could be taken as a sign that many Ukip voters are Conservative defectors.
But this is little comfort for Labour in a poll which puts the Tories ahead: even with a divided Right the party of the Left are struggling to win the popular vote. And, despite a £7bn tax giveaway, Cameron is more trusted on the economy by 16 to 1: Ukippers nearly trust him as much as Farage.
The Prime Minister’s tax-and-spend-slashing agenda is finding more support than Miliband’s £2.5 billion commitment to the NHS. On the economy Ukip is very much blue not red.
The other encouraging sign for Cameron is the trust he is winning in his own party. He is more trusted by Tory voters than the other leaders – including Farage – are by their supporters.
As Peter Kellner noted in reacting to the data, much of it tells a familiar story: the Tories trust their leader more on “their” issues (the economy, crime, defence), Miliband can point to the NHS and Farage leads on immigration and Europe.
But perhaps the most encouraging finding for Cameron is quite how much his party endorse his economic approach – and how many Labour voters remain unconvinced by Miliband’s. 88 per cent of Conservative voters support the Prime Minister, while just 51 per cent of Labour back their leader.