Monday, March 17, 2008

ICM for The Guardian

From ConHome:

'Another good poll - but unfortunately it's not enough to confirm a new trend in our favour. We need to poll consistently above 40%, and Labour likewise 30% and below. Labour's ratings in this poll and the Yougov poll are very encouraging for us.

What is not consistent about the two polls is the support for the Lib Dems - 5% is a considerable discrepancy. In truth, we need the Lib Dems to poll closer to 16% to maximize our chances of winning. But with Labour polling under 30% anyway, 41% would actually be enough to win a general election, even with the Lib Dems at 2005 levels. But with so long to go until a GE (2010 surely), Labour cannot be written off and could quite easily regain support IF economic conditions have improved by then.'

The poll figures are:

Con 42
Lab 29
LD 21

UKE projections:

Con 352
Lab 223
LD 43

Con Maj 56

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two polls: one more excellent than the other

Some fabulous news for the Party today - a Yougov poll for the Sunday Times has the Conservatives 16% ahead of Labour. The figures are:

Con 43
Lab 27
LD 16

The other poll is for ICM:

Con 40
Lab 31
LD 20

Both polls are going in the right direction - it's a 4.5% swing with Yougov (Con +3, Lab -6) and 3% with ICM (Con +3, Lab -3, LD -1).

Such an enormous lead is quite out of the blue, what with Labour seeming to have closed the gap in recent weeks. It is, of course, entirely possible that the results of this poll might prove to be anomolous, but nevertheless - we might as well celebrate whilst we can!

The 16% story appears here on Times Online.

My ConHome post reads:

'The Yougov lead is astonishing, especially given Labour appear to have been making some sort of recovery over the last few weeks. 43/27/16 yields a majority of 118, according to UK Elect. I suspect that Labour's six-point shift may prove to be an exaggeration, but nevertheless, this is great news.

This sort of lead is reminiscent of leads shown in some Cameron/Brown polls taken before Tony Blair's departure. Maybe they weren't so fanciful after all...'

The point about the old Cameron/Brown polls is an important one - if Cameron can successfully show (subliminally) that Blair was a better PM than Brown is, the Tories might be on to a winner.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Latest Yougov Poll

Normally I wouldn't post on polls which I don't consider to be of great significance - and this Yougov poll is fairly unremarkable:

Con 40
Lab 33
LD 16

Forced choice (now):

Con 44
Lab 36

Forced choice (2005 election):

Lab 52
Con 35

The 'forced choice' figures are very encouraging, and show what enormous progress the Party has made since David became leader.

The telegraph's headline is 'Tories fail to profit from Brown misery'. This frustrates me. For 8 years we recorded poll ratings between the high twenties and low thirties. We failed to prove that we could change as a Party. David Cameron has been ahead for most of the time since December 2005 - and yes, consistent election-winning margins are not yet in the bag, but we must be patient.

I remember, during the IDS years, scouring the details of a poll to salvage anything remotely positive. Even a two-point defecit inspired a small nugget of hope: but realistically, the Party was going nowhere and was not going to even come close to winning.

Brown has, of course, had immense difficulties over the last few months. Northern Rock, lost data, PMQs performances, tax change flip-flops and the Peter Hain saga have all contributed to making this government look weak, inert and incompetent. The trouble is, to a large extent, politicians are now all tarred with the same brush. 'They're all incompetent' or 'they're all liars' are common complaints made by the general public with references to all politicians. Hence, the incompetence of the government does not necessarily lead to renewed faith in the Conservatives to show that they are a more capable alternative. It merely entrenches the feeling of doom in the current climate, and problems like party funding turn voters off even more. Indeed, New Labour is probably to blame for most of this disenchantment, but I don't believe the Tories can inspire people to vote on policies alone.

Cameron has recently sought to side with the public on the issue of confidence in the political system. At PMQs on Wednesday, he surprised Gordon Brown by asking him about televised debates, and public trust in the government on the issue of the Lisbon Treaty. Many commentators were puzzled by this line of questioning, but Guido's excellent blog on the subject may have hit the nail on the head. Read for yourself.

People should stop grumbling about the fact that we're not far enough ahead. I KNOW a margin of 7% won't win us the election but it WILL remove Labour's majority and it WOULD make us the largest single party in a hung parliament. I make no secret of the fact that I am in favour of a coalition with the Lib Dems if it ensures our return to power. Vince Cable, David Laws, Ed Davey and Clegg himself could all prove worthy proponents of Liberal Conservatism, which, after all, is Cameron's (and indeed my) brand of choice.

As for the electoral maths, the Tories have to be 9-10% ahead to be sure of an overall majority. According to UK Elect, the Conservatives would be 16 seats short of an overall majority with today's Yougov figures:

Con 308
Lab 282
LD 29
Oth 31

From the 'others' we should be able to count on the support of the DUP and the UUP, but that's only 11. The most significant remainders are Sinn Fein (5), SNP (5), and Plaid Cymru (4). We would have a majority of 8 with figures of 42/33/29 - WE ARE NOT FAR AWAY.

So I say to the Cameron doubters in the Telegraph: grow up! These polls must be put in context. To charge ahead with radical proposals now would be folly - it would simply be drowned out by the public's despair in the political system, and, moreover, the public's despair of the political classes. I am in favour of cutting tax, controls on immigration, tough policing and all the rest of it but the public will not accept our message until Westminster gets its act together on procedure, funding, declarations, and Mr. Speaker himself.

No single particular Party is out of touch: they all are, and it is their duty to show that MPs represent the entire electorate by becoming relevant to them.