Partygate: How the opinion polls have changed

Labour is continuing to record a small but consistent lead over the Conservatives in the opinion polls, having spent much of the past few years trailing well behind the Government.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party has been ahead in the polls since early December – around the time stories first began to emerge of Downing Street parties taking place during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The lead has varied in size, narrowing at the start of this month but growing again in recent days.

Based on a seven-day rolling average of all national published polls, Labour’s vote share stood at 40% on January 14, ahead of the Conservatives on 32%, with the Liberal Democrats on 12% and the Greens on 5%.

POLITICS Coronavirus Polls
(PA Graphics)

Labour’s eight-point lead is almost an exact reverse of the situation six months ago, when the Tories were averaging 42% and Labour 32%.

The Liberal Democrats have also improved their performance, averaging between 10% and 12% since early December.

The party has spent much of the period since the 2019 general election in single figures.

Opinion polls are snapshots of the prevailing public mood, not projections or forecasts.

With the next general election still more than two years away – the latest possible date is May 2 2024 – there is still plenty of time for the national numbers to change.

But with local elections taking place across much of the UK in just under four months’ time on May 5, politicians of all sides will be studying the figures closely for clues as to what might happen on polling day.