Is this why the polls are all over the place?
WARNING - political anorak post!
All the opinion polls show David Cameron ahead in the race for Downing street, but by varying amounts. Most of them suggest that the race has tightened in the past couple of months, but some polls still show the Conservatives around 10% ahead.
Not that you'd get that impression from reading the media. Because YouGov polls - which are well out of line with most of the other pollsters - have been adjusted to show the Tory lead dropping to just a few points (currently 4% - there was one poll showing a lead of just 2%.) And these are the polls which have had the attention in the newspapers because it makes the election sound more interesting if people think it is close.
Another point which has not been brought out is that most of the drop in the Yougov poll lead is not due to any decline in the Conservative lead in the raw data. It's because of a change in the weightings to correct for the fact that voters who identify with the Labour party have been less inclined to take part in their surveys.
Yougov have adjusted their figures to adjust for the lower proportion of past Labour supporters who say they "identify" with Labour taking part, as Mike Smithson reports at Political Betting here.
The question is, have they overdone it? Whatever the reason that Labour identifying voters have gone on strike against Yougov, it can't be because they think Yougov is biased against Labour, or they would have done so when the company was reporting much larger Conservative leads. The feedback my team are getting on the doorsteps in Copeland never showed as large a swing as some of last year's polls, but the swing we are finding has been pretty stable and has shown no sign of reducing in line with the recent wobble. We are being told by a lot of former Labour voters that they are highly disillusioned and seriously considering whether to vote Labour this time.
A few of them will come over to us: a lot more, I suspect, won't vote. Reluctance of Labour identifiers to take part in Yougov polls may be a harbinger of difficulties for Labour in getting their vote out come the real election.
We won't know until polling day. Yougov has a good record and they might be right. Or the other pollsters may be. Or all the polls could be wrong as they were in 1992!
Nobody can take a thing for granted about the coming election and we must concentrate on explaining why our policies are right for Britain and for Copeland.