Briefing – maybe it’s not a honeymoon

If you Google “Theresa May honeymoon“, what you’ll find (apart from some misplaced ads from holiday companies) is a raft of commentary from the last six months about whether the calm waters in which the Prime Minister has found herself during that time are turning choppy, or are about to, or already have, or some variation on the theme.

The discussion kicked off again yesterday after the Economist published a critical leader. But one assumption that has gone unchallenged was that the very strong poll ratings that both the Conservatives and their leader have been enjoying have been a new leader bounce.

So I challenged it. What I found was that if you take proper account of the electoral cycle, leadership bounces are often pretty stingy, and are not enough to explain the Tories’ gravity-defying poll leads. Of course, gravity tends to re-assert itself eventually, and that may or may not be helped along by events this year. You can read the full analysis here.

And finally, if the weekly YouGov/Times poll is out of hibernation, we’ll get the first poll of 2017 today (the fieldwork for the one released on Monday was actually from before Christmas). That showed the Conservative lead being cut to 15 points, but Labour also dropping to a 34-year low in opposition of 24 per cent.

Almost weekend…

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