An ICM poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph puts the Conservatives back into a commanding position. Conducted on the 10th and 11th October it is the first standard poll with fieldwork carried out over several days since the announcement that there would not be an election this year. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s previous poll conducted straight after David Cameron’s speech, are CON 43%(+5), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 14%(-2).

The 43% recorded by the Conservatives is their highest figure since July 1992. On a uniform swing it would put the Conservatives tantalisingly close to an overall majority with 320 seats in the Commons. 14% is the lowest figure ICM have given the Liberal Democrats since 2001. ICM normally give the Lib Dems a higher level of support than other pollsters and, with the party recording perillously low scores of around 11% and 12% in other companies polls ICM has been a ray of comfort. With even ICM showing them down by almost 10 points on their 2005 election support the murmurs around Sir Menzies Campbell’s position that have begun in the last week are probably going to continue.

Far from peaking after their conference, this poll suggests the Conservatives have continued to improve their position and Labour have continued to fall, hardly a surprise after the embarrassment Gordon Brown suffered in having to announce there would not be an election and the torrid week the government have had in the media. What remains to be seen is whether this is still just the short term result of a bad period for the government and some positive coverage for the Conservatives, a temporary Tory lead that will fade away again, or whether there really has been a sea change in the last few weeks.

The government’s inheritance tax proposals certainly don’t appear to have given them any short term boost (though of course, strategically their intent was probably more to rob the Conservatives of something they could have campaigned on long term, rather than give the government an immediate boost). Asked what they would prefer out of retaining the present £300k limit, adopting the £600k limit for couples, adopting a £1m limit for all, or scrapping it entirely the government’s policy was the first choice of only 16% of people. 39% of people opted for the Conservative policy.

Last month Populus asked some questions on whether people trusted Gordon Brown and Alister Darling on the economy more than they trusted David Cameron and George Osborne and found a huge majority for Brown and Darling. ICM asked people to compare the two sets of leaders in this poll, and found the Brown/Darling lead down to 11 points (47% to 36%). The questions aren’t directly comparable, Populus spoke about economic crisis, rather than just the economy, and we know people say they trust Brown in a crisis, but all the same the Labour lead on the economy is still looking somewhat weaker than before.

Finally, the poll also asked about the EU treaty – there is still overwhelming support for a referendum (66% to 12%) and people would vote against it if there were one (by 47% to 29%). However, if there actually was a referendum it seems very likely that supporters would try and cast the argument as being about whether we wanted to be in the EU at all, and when asked about that a majority of people (56%) still think we should be, with 38% saying we should leave.

UPDATE: There is also a new BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday. Topline voting intention figures, with changes from last week’s poll, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 11%(-1).

UPDATE 2: Sky news is insisting on reporting this as the biggest Tory lead for 15 years. It isn’t. It is the biggest Tory level of support for 15 years, it is the biggest Tory lead in an ICM poll since…er…March.


109 Responses to “Conservatives open up a lead in new ICM poll”

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  1. Steven and Dave too early with the gulps and shudders, if things are looking bad then it means 3 years to the next election; but do remember it is only one poll, the latest BPIX has a 4% Tory lead, down by 3% 2 days after the ICM poll. Labour have had a very bad two weeks, in the press, lets see what next weeks polls bring. I am assuming that there will be polls next week, the media seems to be as excited about new polls as we are.

  2. Guy,

    “The next few months will be crucial as to whether this view of a lack of vision becomes a firm public view. As the Tories have found out adverse public perceptions can take years to correct.”

    I agree. Gordon has been keen to set himself as a ‘change’ politician with his ‘vision’; and he must follow through on that. Words aren’t enough, especially when you are in government; indeed, that is the very advantage Labour has. Labour CAN do, the Opposition paries CAN’T. That said, he can’t disregard the 2005 Manifesto on which the Labour Party, not he or Tony, was re-elected on.

    Furthermore, at the next general election, Labour won’t be able to campaign on “We are not the Conservatives” and expect it resonate well because it won’t. Linking David Cameron with Norman Lamont and the ERM isn’t going to work so long after 1992. When the election comes, voters will be concerned with here and now not so much there and then.

    I don’t know what the wider consequences of the ‘credit crunch’ will be, but the consensus is that economic growth will slow and the housing market may slump. The question is, how well will Labour stear the good ship UK through ‘rough waters’ should they come?

    BTW, ‘credit crunch’ or not, I’m still being bombarded from various wanting to lend me money. In fact, with the post dispute, all being well resolved, I’m expecting a deluge of that kind of thing once they work their way through the backlog.

  3. The other thing is that New Labour are steadily pinching or appearing to pinch all the Conservatives ideas. What’s left to attack? Tax cuts are ok now it seems. That’s helping the Conservatives too. And what is also helping is the trust issue. Who do people trust to deliver on their promises? (whether they are actually achievable or not is another matter!)

  4. Keith,

    Perhaps we’re having something of a ‘convergence’ between the Conservatives and Labour. There seems to be nothing sacred to either party any more.

  5. I think Browns quite blatant attempt to steal Tory clothes right after the election has spectacularly backfired.

    By announcing what most people see as his version of other peoples policies he has been viewed by the elctorate of using exactly the type of spin he said he would avoid.

    Add to that a speach at the Labour Conference which was all rhetoric and recycled phraseswhich was widely reported to lack policy initiatives or a unifying theme and he seems to have created the impression that he is interested primarily in retaining power rather than doing anythibg with it.

    Although most of the focus has been on his version of Osbornes cut in IHT, he has probably upset a lot of LibDems by nicking the Flights tax.

    An assumption made here in a number of posts is that a Libdem recovery will favour Brown and hurt Cameron, but we should at least consider that it could be the other way round, and that some of the “orange Book” LibDems might start to argue that Cameron might be a better partner than Brown.

    A softening on the LibDem support for Labour as a prefered partner might well do something to reverse the current fall in there support. If nothing else it wouldget them some attention for something other than Ming’s leadership.

    Peter.

    Peter.

  6. And nor should there be given that one governs and the other aspires to govern the country. They will, of course, tweak about with this and that, here and there.

  7. Peter,

    To have done so in the Pre-Budget Statement has backfired. As to whether Labour’s plans were already on the way before Osborne announced his, I don’t know. I have reservations re-IHT, non-doms, ‘flight tax’ proposals whether from Darling, Osborne or Cable and changes made to CGT by Darling.

    There is nothing that couldn’t have waited until the Budget proper.

  8. Peter I think you’re right. But I think the Lib-Dems are in the most awkward of situations. They face a real possibility of the next election being a hung parliament and potentially a grasp at power as the deciding balance.

    But they also face potentially losing upto 2-thirds of their MPs, quite realistically. They tripled their MPs in 1992 and a reversal of that does appear to be on the cards right now.

    They have spent years being all things to all people and I think that is coming home to roost now as they have a core ultimately of being nothing to almost anyone. They need to decide what they’re there for soon and act accordingly, otherwise they risk getting badly beaten.

    I think the Orange Bookers had the right idea, I think the window of opportunity is closing though.

  9. Well if things carry on moving as quickly as they are a present the next PM could even be the only elected leader of the Labour Party – step forward Harriet Harman!

    A poll which shows that the respondents perceive Brown as “stronger” than Cameron implies to me that there is still a lot of air to come out of the Brown Balloon.

  10. Peter:-

    “… he seems to have created the impression that he is interested primarily in retaining power rather than doing anything with it.”

    I agree and I think it is at the heart of his current problems.

  11. Peter:-

    “… some of the “orange Book” LibDems might start to argue that Cameron might be a better partner than Brown.”

    Yes indeed. I have thought for some time that David Laws & Vince Cable ( a man for whom I have a very high regard) could sit very comfortably in David Cameron’s Conservative Party -and both make a considerable contribution to it.

  12. Clearly the swinging polls have caused a great deal of excitment but they don’t seem to be reflected in local election results at present. With a GE election expected to be 18 months away they are largely academic – it will be interesting to see where they are when we enter the new year and in May/June after budget changes have settled down.

  13. Paul, I agree, it is all so very exciting, I cannot remember a mid election term that had so much interest in the political process. It’s more akin to eastenders, than the governance of the worlds 4th largest economy.

    Apart from Browns obvious back-firing episodes, troop withdrawel, election back down (nothing to do with polls), then stealing Tory clothes. He also stuck to the plan of bring the CSR and PBR on the same day. these were supposed to be seminal Labour moments of exciting the electorate with their ideas. Because all the headlines were deeming it the “magpie” budget, it seems (confirmed by some Labour ministers) that the policy cupboard is now thread bare at a time when Brown is being pressed on all sides to reveal his “vision”. They should have held either the PBR or CSR for a later date. Eggs and baskets come to mind.

    In realtion tot he Lib Dem conundrum, it may well be the historical evidence that increased Lib dem support favours Lab over Con, but I have a feeling that the resurgent party of Cllr Peter Cairns north of the broder is going to have a big say in the next GE. Labour need a strong showing in Scotland to win,and the SNP are now a real viable alternative who will be happy to bag a few seats at the expense of Labour.Conservatives in 3rd/4th place seats could be well advised to vote SNP or LD.

  14. Anthony,are there any viewing figures for PMQ? Labour seems always to do badly in PMQ(Thatcher v Kinnoch,Hague v Blair,Cameron v BROWN??).Perhaps Labour policies are too easy to attack and difficult to defend(eg tax and spend badly).But perhaps we are the only ones watching.

  15. Colin,

    Hague versus Blair? I wouldn’t say TB did badly and you seem to have forgotten Ian Duncan Smith and Michael Howard (not that I blame you :p).

    I think PMQ’s do affect pulic opinion a bit. Not many people watch them but it does filter down through the press and bad perfomances do get punished (IDS and possibly Ning).

    Gordon’s not done too well so far. But how many have we had so far? 3? Plenty of time left! (*crosses fingers*)

  16. Steven,I watched Hague v Blair on many occasions and Hague almost always came out best(this is
    NOT a partisan view.The problem with Hague arose when people were actually watching.

  17. Reports on the BBC confirm that Vince Cable has stated that Ming’s job is under discussion although he expects that Ming will “probably” decide to stay. I may be wrong but this sounds very much as if Ming is about to throw himself upon his sword. Irrespective of the polls that have followed the Tory recovery, the LibDems have suffered ever since Brown became leader. I did not expect the LibDems to move in this way but it seems as if the kaleidoscope may be shaken one more time in this extraordinary political episode. My feel is that if either Huhne or Clegg become leader that will damage Cameron slightly more than Brown if (big if) the LibDems re-establish themselves as a serious party in the South.

    As for Labour, they would be well advised to hold their nerve. After a terrible fortnight they should take heart that their worst poll is 36% which is a great deal better than Blair was polling earlier this year. The underlying evidence in the polls demonstrates that the public still prefer Brown as leader to Cameron and Cameron has yet to bring forward the policies to meet the rhetoric of his conference speech (i.e. reform of the NHS, reform of education, tougher welfare policies) which is, quite literally, always easier said than done.

    Let us not be fooled here, the Tories have staged a remarkable recovery and for now the media are giving them good press but there is an awful lot of political narrative to unfold that may bode well or ill for Brown and Cameron starting with the EU treaty this week.

  18. Re: PMQs

    Hague had a reputation for doing well, although I have to say I thought he and Blair were quite evenly matched. Hague had very little amunition though, and nobody was listening to the Conservatives at that point.

    Howard and Blair I found to be entertaining battles which were again flairly even. Blair vs. IDS was not even.

    However, I DO NOT agree with peoplw who say PMQs doesn’t matter. I don’t think it makes much difference if things are fairly even (as they often are) but if one leader is seen to have soundly defeated the other, it can make for some very embarassing news stories. Look at what happoened last Wednesday to Mr. Brown- that proves that there is more at stake in PMQs merely than Parliamentary morale.

    Brown vs Cameron has been quite one sided so far. In my opinion what Brown needs to do is to play defensively and cautiously, and accept that his opponent is better than him at this particular format of debate. This means not trying to engage head on with all that is said, but relying on a large amount of pre-prepared notes and soundbites. Presscott (although there were a couple of disasters) did this quite well a few times simply by not really engaging with the question and repeating pre-set soundbites. This at least avoided embarassment.

  19. I don’t see how the Lib-Dems can hope to survive as a serious party in the South vs the Cameron Conservatives gunning for an attempt to actually form a government. I’d expect the South to go Conservative.

    I’d rather a centre-right/plain centre Lib-Dems but I think their only chance of political survival atm is to go centre-left and hope to enshrine themselves in the North and in Scotland. Target building upon the 2005 anti-Labour votes and not the 1997 anti-Conservative ones.

    Come 2009/2010 are we more likely to have potential anti-Labour or anti-Conservative voters who don’t want to jump to the other big party. I think its far more likely there’ll be Northern Labour voters unhappy after 13 years who could never bring themselves to vote Tory so would go LD if pushed.

  20. I disagree with Philip. I do not expect leftish voters to be anywhere near as disillusioned with Labour at the next election as the war caused them to be in 2005. Also, a slightly more threatening Conservative Party will I suspect result in fewer protest votes to the Lib Dems.

    Therefore I expect the Lib Dems to be squeezed although in the south I suspect Labour voters will vote tactically to help them retain more of their MPs against the Tories than would be expected on a straight swing. I do think they will lose most of the seats they gained from Labour in 2005.

    If Ming is replaced by Clegg I see that as a threat to Cameron. Clegg will be able to outfresh Cameron and I suspect will appeal to many of same people who are attracted to Cameron ie youngish centre right types

  21. If you look at the breakdown from the last full YouGov poll and compare Scotland with the rest of the UK let alone the South, you’ll see that Brown still commands the loyalty of the Scots.

    Much like those in Scotland who maintained that Blair only sounded like a Tory to get elected the majority of Scots seem content to back Brown as there man even if and when he is espousing right of centre policies thatthey don’t like.

    That makes it extremely difficult for the SNP to make anything like major progress. however where it gets interestingis when the polls seem to indicate something like 40% Labour, 25% SNP and Tory, and under 10% LibDem.

    That collapse in libDem support sould well see the best chance of SNP gains, particularly in rural Scotland and evebn a chance for the Tories.

    It wil depend on how well the SNP do in government over the next two years and the extent to which Tory and even labour voterswll back the SNP to unseat LibDems.

    The Tories might do it to try to help Cameron and a small number of Labour voters might because of bad feeling over the Holyrood coalition.

    By and large I think the SNP can’t make major gains without a real shift in Tactical voting.

    It’s hard without an up to date Scottish poll but from what we have the differeces in key issues noeth and south may also be an issue. Where as 40% in the UK put immigration as a top issue, it’s only 30% in Scotland, with what you might term the core New Labour issues of health and education higher than the UK.

    That would tend to be good news for Labourin Scotland, but it might depend on the campaign.

    If Brown continues his “magpie” approach and makes immigration a big issue to counter Cameron then there may be an opportunity for the SNP to fight on “One Scotland” and an “Open country”, where giving asylum seekers the right to work, an end to dawn raids and free higher education for asylum seekers children have all been relatively popular policies.

    As I have said before oil might make a comeback.

    With it at $80 a barrell, a tight spending round and a slowing economy, Scots might start to feel that the good times are over.

    Then the psychological effect of the Irish economy probably being larger than Scotland,s over the next two years and it gets hard for Brown to argue that Scotland is doing well in the UK.

    Peter.

  22. “you’ll see that Brown still commands the loyalty of the Scots.”

    I think that’s as inevitable as the fact that the sun will set tonight, in general elections at least.

  23. If Ming is replaced by Clegg I see that as a threat to Cameron. Clegg will be able to outfresh Cameron and I suspect will appeal to many of same people who are attracted to Cameron ie youngish centre right types.

    Clegg comes across as the typical sneering, arrogant lefty. I seriously doubt centre-right voters will see the Clegg manifesto and think “I’ll vote for that”.

  24. Next big Brown hole is the EU thing, regardless ofyour views on further integration/seperation. He seems to again be caught between a rock and a hard place. Large swathes of the press and public are banging on about the manifesto pledge and the Labour dominated scrutiny commitee (deeming it almost the same) leaves him in a difficult quandry.

    many are saying the red lines are virtually worthless, so he is caught between the press/public on one side and European leaders on the other. not an enviable position. But was it avoidable with a referendum?

    I personally reckon, and would bet on it with his current hammering from all quarters and poll rating decline, he will engineer the circumstances to hold the referendum.

    Of course off to Lisbon first to play the game.

  25. Interesting to see what effect Sir Menzies Campbells resignation will have on the next poll. I expect the Libdems to get a bit of a boost straight away followed by a bigger boost once the new leader is elected, I also feel that the majority of that boost will come from the Tories.

  26. Feel very sorry for Ming, but he never really hacked it at the weekly pantomime that is PMQs; even after 18 months he looked so nervous when his turn came as a clutched his notes with a slightly shaky hand. I don’t think this is an age thing, I think it’s lack of charisma and if you’re a third party your leader is the only one who gets reasonable media exposure and you need someone with some sort of obvious ‘character’…which is why Charlie Kennedy did so well!

    In 6 months time, and if the Libs get the right sort of leader there’s a chance that they’ll be back up to the 18% mark which looking at the impact on Labour of a decent Liberal vote in a tight contest at a GE would please GB alot!

    Incidentally, has anyone read the Electoral Calculus explanation of why their current Liberal seat prediction is zero…I have and I’m not sure I understand it??

  27. Clegg is pretty much a carbon copy of Cameron. All we need now is for David Miliband to take over from Gordon Brown to have 3 identical leaders of the main parties.

  28. When the LDems get the bounce that can be expected when the new leader arrives,the interesting thing will be who will they be taking the percentage points from?

  29. I’d expect Kennedy to at least test the water, and if he gets a reaction try to make a comeback.

    I suspect he is in with a chance given that a fair number of Libdems look back on his time and remember 22% in the polls and he was popular with the public which might be what they need now that it’s very much Brown v Cameron and a personality contest.

    If he does try and loses then I wouldn’t rule out him announcing that he’d step down at the next election and either way if he tries and doesn’t get the leadership it’s bad news for the LibDems in Scotland, losing one Scot as leader was bad enough, ousting two in two years won’t do them any good at all.

    Peter.

  30. Andy – If Clegg is a carbon copy of Cameron,whom then will fear the most if he becomes LDem Leader?

    Could the electorate be facing a choice of two Camerons and one Brown?

  31. Cllr Peter Cairns; “I’d expect Kennedy to at least test the water, and if he gets a reaction try to make a comeback”. I am assuming that was not an intentional joke!

  32. Andy:-

    “Clegg is pretty much a carbon copy of Cameron”

    …I don’t think so-try reading some of his views & speeches!

    Interesting times though.

  33. One of the biggest problems that my Lib Dem supporting friends had with Ming was failure to attack Brown. They were also unhappy at Ming’s closeness to Brown and the fact that he would probably back up Brown in the event of a hung parliament. Something they were not happy about.

    I heard an interview with Clegg about 18 months ago where he talked about having closer ties with the Conservatives and he could see any chance of them going into coalition with Labour.

    This may well give them a small boost but with the strength of the Tories and Labour at moment I still see them being squeezed at the next election. I think the 1987 election was the last main example of this happening.

  34. In the past have new Lib Dem leaders seen much of a honeymoon boost in the polls?.

  35. Campbell and Brown were very close and Brown’s Plan B was to do a PR deal with Campbell. Frankly I don’t think it matters much who leads the Lib Dems – the only point of voting for them is if you dislike Labour/Tories and you dislike Tories/Labour so that you want to make a protest vote. It’s clear that the momentum is with Cameron and the Lib Dems now seem irrelevant. If you are fed up with Brown – vote for Cameron. If not, vote for Brown. Why on earth vote Lib Dem??

  36. If you look at events before Kennedy’s removal, it was against a backdrop of Conservatives doing well and very much targetting Lib Dem voters. Part of the reason they chose Campbell was (supposedly) to act as an ideal tonic to Cameron who was taking support from them while they were lead by an avowdly left-wing leader in Kennedy.

    A large part of the reason the Liberals have moved against Ming is once again because Cameron has taken voters from them. I always believed a more centrist Tory leader would cause the Lib Dems horrible problems and that is exactly what Cameron has done- it is the second leader he has effectively deposed. It’s no coincidence both Lib Dem leaders fell at the very height of Tory support in the Polls.

    I think this is bad news for the Conservtaives though, because there is no viable candidate from the left of the party that might cause Labour more problems. The only way I think this might help the Tories, is that by going for a more right-wing low-tax agenda, they help shift the political consensus further to the right and make things like Tax cuts, privitisation, and quango-culling more popular (which I feel they are becoming now), which ought to help the Tories in the longer term even if they are competing for similar ground.

  37. If the LibDems do go for a more right of centre leader and posture, to counter the Tories, then along with Browns attempts to steal Tory clothes all we will get is another shift of UK politics to the right.

    That will leave people in the North of England with no natural party to support other than Labour who’s manefesto will increasing offer nothing for them, and people in Scotland with the SNP as the only real alternative to three right of centre UK parties.

    Peter.

  38. if any of you live in scotland you will know what a mess the libdems made up here when in power.with such a low rating it is about time the received the correct coverage on tv .they get far to much exposure.it needs corrected.

    this will cause more labour people to switch lib than tory,no matter what candidate is in place.cameron can take on clegg,brown cant.

  39. If Clegg as LD leader turns out to be ( or is perceived to be) centre-right-I don’t understand why he should attract centre-right voters from Cconservatives who may win an election, to LibDems who cannot.

    It looks like Ming jumped because of the polls-but if he was pushed, I think they have been precipitate. They should have waited to see how the polls look in six months time-as all parties are doing just now! There is going to be no election for at least a year.

    If the very fact that Gordon postponed the anticipated election has prompted concerns about Ming’s age in 2009 or 2010-then it looks like ageism , as Vince Cable said.

  40. Luke Blaxill (Lukw), I don’t think you can claim Cameron removed Kennedy, I think the drink did that! But I agree that most of the lift in the Tory vote has come from the LibDems and that most of this will drift back to them or Labour.

  41. Coilin – many centre-right LibDems who switched to Tory because of “freshness” or IHT did so because they felt more in common with Cameron, but could easily be attracted back by a centre-right fresh leader, on the grounds that the LibDems don’t have a “hard-extreme” ,or “nasty side”, and the Tories do – just try reading some of the Tory blog sites!

    Cllr, Haven’t the SNP silenced their middle “N” for now? I agree that economic performance should keep you in power, but I know a lot of Scots who were worried about the independence issue. Does the SNP carry out private polls on the issue?

  42. So if the lib dems have a freshed centre right candidate they could split the tory support for fresh faced david cameroon and provide labour with the advantage that the SDP provided Maggie with in 1983

  43. Paul – I’d almost forgotten that!
    Are we agreed that a centre-right LibDem would increase support for Labour, and a centre-left one would similarly help the Conservatives?

    Either way, something has to give, because the Libdems must surely recover points from either or both the other two.

  44. Or they can continue to heamorage votes to both in a tight two-party race, nothing is certain John including that this is as low as they can go.

  45. I think if you only look in terms of theoretical polling its obvious that competition for your supporters will lose you votes, ergo- Clegg/Huhne is bad for the Tories.

    However, as I said, I think a more right wing Liberal party whose natural coalition partners are Tories wil push the consensus to the right, and that may not help Labour overall. The Tories will not look like an unruly bunch of nasty tax/spublic service cutters if the Liberals are saying the same thing! That may decommission Labour’s strongest card, or rob it of much of its potency.

    The other important ramification is that it may make anti-Labour tactical voting more atrractive. So Conservatives in Lib-Dem/Labour seats feel they can vote Lib Dem and Lib Dems in Labour/Tory seats likewise. I don’t really think it is likely that Labour will be able to count on squeezing the Lib Dem voter to defeat the Tories with the party percieved to be more fiendly to the Tories than Labour.

  46. As Philip pointed out to me, Lukw, the other way round is just as possible. I think 11% is as far down as they’ve been – if a new leader doesn’t immediately revive them , can they last?

    By the way,Lukw, the “nasty” epithet wasn’t attached because of tax/spending cuts philosophy, it’s more the bigoted and xenophobic brigade at the extreme that are still around (in tiny but loud numbers) I’m afraid.

    The U-turn on tax cuts by the LibDems – will that policy’s survival be affected by a new leader, or was it approved by them all?

  47. The Lib Dems need a leader who can stop the haemorrhaging of support towards Cameron and the so-called ‘liberal’ Conservatives.

    In all general elections since 1997, the Lib Dems have made steady parliamentary progress, gaining 28 in 1997, 6 in 2001 and 10 in 2005. Do they want this to continue or don’t they?

    The party faces a fundamental choice, as to whether, it builds on being a respectable, parliamentary, third force (post-1997) as it has with Labour in government or relapsing into being a poor third force (pre-1997) as it was when the Conservatives were in government.

    The Lib Dems are always going to benefit from significant anti-Conservative tactical voting in seats where Labour doesn’t have a wing or a prayer.

  48. To calm all the excitement on here from the left hoping for a Conservative drop in the POLLS from whatever means – at the moment using the Liberal change of leadership / I would’nt count on that – there will be a short period of a small Liberal revival in the POLLS during their media coverage , but that will fall away as soon as the media stop reporting them .

    The country want change badly – the battle when it comes at a GE will be between Labour and Conservative – the winners being the Conservatives – the Liberals don’t have anymore policies than Labour and don’t offer an alternative government .

    The growth in the Liberal vote (even though small will come from both of the main parties . The maximum growth in the POLLS the Liberals will see is about 18% – falling back again after a month to about 14%

  49. John, no current support is not the lowest its been. Check the historical levels on the left, support was often single digits in the eighties and mid-nineties . . . before they tripled their number of MPs in the next election!

  50. John T

    I am sure I could find you some nasty bigoted left wing blogs.Nastiness & bigotry is not associated with one or other political persuasion only!
    My interest is in the politicians who are putting themselves forward to govern us as an administration-existing & alternative.
    And I can tell you that I find much more nastiness & bigotry ( a well attested feature of left wing politics of envy) in the current administration than either of their oponents.

    It seems to me that either you vote as a sort of academic excercise in political theory…or you vote in an attempt to elect in to Government people who will govern in a way which appeals to you.

    I remain unconvinced that if the New LibDems present as credibly centre-right ( a massive “If” at present!), significant numbers of those currently saying they will vote Conservative will switch from Cameron’s party to them because they think the LibDems are “less nasty”

    THe bigger question which might emerge for a “traditional” socialist is, given a Centre right opposition, and a Government who will espouse any cause if it keeps them in power…who do they vote for?

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