This month’s polls are starting to show a few intriguing trends.
Labour’s average for July is currently 36.1%: a rise of 0.3 percentage points on June, and up 1.1 on May. Three separate polls in the past few days, each from a different organisation, have shown a Labour lead over the Tories of seven points. If such a trend continues, Labour’s monthly average for July will rise still further.
But look at what’s happening to the ratings for the other three parties. Ukip is on 13.7%: a fall of 1.3 points on June, and the first time the party’s average has declined month-on-month since March.
The Liberal Democrats are on 8.3%. That represents a rise in the party’s average for the first time since (coincidentally) March.
And the Conservatives are also showing a small increase. Their current average of 32.3% reverses the slight fall they registered last month.
What could be happening here? Do these trends represent the start of something significant and new? Or are the parties’ ratings merely reverting to the kind of levels we saw earlier in the year, before support for Ukip began to rise?
I’m minded to go for the latter. It’s too early to say for sure, but I suspect this might be the start of Ukip’s poll average sliding gently downwards between now and next May, ending up perhaps as low as 10%. The reasons? Almost zero publicity for the party in the media after a few months of near-blanket coverage; and voters’ minds becoming less focused on past contests (the local and European elections) and more on the big contest to come.