Tomorrow’s ComRes poll for tomorrow has also surfaced – the topline figures are CON 38%(-4), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 19%(nc). There’s a sharp drop in Conservative support since ComRes’s last poll, but it actually reflects a straight reverse of the changes in ComRes’s previous poll. In their poll a week ago “others” dropped 4 and the Conservatives gained 4. This week its gone straight back in the other direction again!

UPDATE: ComRes also asked some questions on family policy. The public were pretty evenly divided on the Conservative proposal to give tax breaks to married couples but not cohabiting couples, 47% thought it was a good idea to 50% saying it was a bad idea.


182 Responses to “ComRes show polls narrowing again”

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  1. @ALEC
    As a practising hetrosexual I am in no position to judge the attractivness of other males, however, I never heard of “boyish good looks” doing a politician any harm in this age of wall to wall television.
    Also I confess to being outraged at times regarding certain persons and or programmes on the BBC being anti Tory. I do think this has reduced in the recent past due to a better acceptance of DC, one of the things I always point out to the Simon Heffer tendancy. The last bastion of anti Tory “under current” is the One Show. As for the justified critisism of the Sun, I have read the Sunday Mirror write up of its poll today, its just as bad as the usual Sun spin with the plus of a Mirror journo’s pro Labour comment being attributed to a senior pollster. Real class.

  2. @LIN REES
    Yes we saw your veiw point yesterday and I replied and we, quite correctly both got moderated.
    If you think “tricky dickie” is a heart rendingly insulting comment about a politician of Mr Browns stamp perhaps you should go on an assertion course or somthing.

  3. ‘Chris’ is back. Repeating the Labour attack lines. Hard to see ‘Chis’ as anything but a troll.

  4. @Roland Haines – I wasn’t expressly cricising the Sun – I just haven’t read it. I can’t abide the Mirror either. As for BBC bias – I don’t see it. Over time, all channels and programs generally balance out, and there are plenty of times when Labour or LibDems get a pasting from them, as they should. I think a lot of perceived bias is about the observer effect – we see things we are concerned about and dismiss others. This is why the BBC is normally accused by all sides over bias.

  5. The Conservatives seem to be on the back foot at the moment. I think that there could be two reasons for this:

    1. The Tory’s are keeping their powder dry – either in PMQs or or in public. After the election that never was, I don’t think that they want to give Labour an opportunity to criticise or pinch their ideas again.

    2. The Tories are a bunch of idiots with no plans, policies or principles and DC can not match GB in PMQs.

    Maybe I’ve just read too much Sun Tzu, but I’m going with the former. No matter how much you may dislike the policies and behaviour of politicians of whaterver political leaning, most in senior office tend not to be total idiots.

    I think that the Tory’s are testing the water with some of their ideas. The poster campaign has not gone down very well, but they have tried it before the election campaign proper, and probably won’t focus excessively on DC in the again. Same with their policies – they are flushing out Labour’s criticisms and testnig the electorate’s responses before the election campaign in order to modify them or prepare ‘answers to any criticism.

  6. @JAY BLANC
    How can you expect people, especially Tories, to take your comments about the technicalities of polling seriously, when you are pushing this wretched poster theme as if it were in anyway significant. The latest polls today have good news and not quite such good news for the Tories, but as you very well know, margin of error makes it all a bit “no real change”.
    Why try to pretend the poster means the end of the centre right
    in the UK. Alecs comment was perfectly justified and true. Your reply is merely left wing wishful thing.

  7. @JAY BLANC
    For thing (last word) read thinking.

  8. I’m not sure about bias in the political reporting of the BBC. The lobby system means that you can’t be outright rude about the government and still do your job, so political commentators tend to tread a sympathetic line – something that they don’t have to do with the Opposition. This leads people to infer a left-wing political bias in news reporting that, IMO, doesn’t exist.

    Satirists and comedians – their job is to poke fun at the status quo ergo they would be inherently more liberal than conservative. I don’t feel this constitutes institutionalised bias, more a showbusiness tradition.

    I agree with you on the One Show piece – it was the most outragiously one sided politically motivated five minutes of television I have ever seen, but I don’t think non-news shows are subject to the same rigor as Newsnight and its ilk.

    @Lin Rees: You can read politicians one of two ways when they speak about things on the news agenda:

    a) political opportunism (bad)
    b) politicians talking about issues that interest/matter to the electorate (good)

    One could argue that the two things are, in fact, the same thing observed from a different viewpoint.

  9. @JAY BLANC
    For Alec read Colin, its right wing dementia.

  10. We need to take this poll with care, because when you look at it, the swing is between Conservative and Other, with Labour and LibDems staying put.

    The largest “Other” vote is in Scotland (and Wales), represented by the Nationalists, so the first question is how far this swing is regional, and how far it is to British “Other” parties such as the Greens and UKIP.

    One wonders how far this swing is genuine, and how far it reflects artefactual considerations, such as people being more willing to say they will vote Other when the news is not concentrating their minds on UK politics.

    As And Stillwell points out, it is as clear as can be that Others are going to get more votes in the General Election than ever before. And this makes polling results rather more difficult to interpret. For instance, quite large numbers of people are intending to vote for parties that are only standing in selected seats, and may need to switch if they find their preferred party isn’t standing. And we don’t know about things such as the likelihood that people saying they will vote Other will actually turn out.

    In relation to the Tories’ “We’re not good enough” poster (I have previously pointed out that this can be interpreted in an unintended way), people are quite right in saying that this is appearing only in marginal seats. The only one I have walked past is in Holborn and St. Pancras. In line with the aims of this site, it would be helpful if people could report, I suggest on the A – Z threads for individual seats, sightings of this poster, and other posters produced by the Conservatives and other parties (Labour, LibDem etc) as the appear. This is important psephological intelligence as as it indicates which seats the various parties to be “up for grabs”.

  11. @Roland Haines

    It’s not me who made this “insignificant poster” a national news story.

    Yes, it might have started out as insignificant, most political campaign gaffs do. But it’s tone deaf to keep saying it’s insignificant once comedians are making jokes about it on late night TV, and there’s a internet meme being spread around about it.

    Yes, people shouldn’t decide their vote on stupid stuff like this… But They Do.

  12. I recall the last Conservative government going down surrounded by sleaze and MPs going to prison.

    Is history going to repeat itself with Labour and will it impact their position in the polls?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6999858.ece

    Personally, I don’t think that this will have as big an impact on Labour’s position as, say, Archer or Hamilton did on the Conservatives as most of the public seem to consider all politicians to be crooks at the moment. I think that the economy will be a key determinant. GB has cleverly deferred the pain of recession until after a GE by printing money. Is the floating voter part of the electorate sophisticated enough to understand that or will they be mislead into thinking that all is well and the pain is behind us if the economy grows buy a fraction of a percent for a quarter or two? I think that the Conservatives are being excessively quiet on this – particularly that the UK is the last of the G20 to exist recession despite being ‘best placed for recovery’. For example, I’ve not heard DC ask GB in PMQ’s “If the recession was a global phenomena, why is the UK still in recession when most of the world isn’t?”. Is DC saving this stuff for the televised debates knowing that it is only geeks like us who watch PMQs and that unlike PMQs GB might even be forced to answer a question in a TV debate?

  13. I think that Labour PM going to jail will have a greater impact on polls that the DC pster campaign….as will the economy and perhaps even the Iraq war enquiry.

  14. Poster campaigns may not have a big effect, but, particularly starting now (as the Tories but not the other parties can afford to do), they an have a “drip feed” effect increasing the swing to the party concerned. Or minimising an adverse swing. And even if it’s a bad poster (I think the current Tory one is a “curate’s egg”), a poster gets the party concerned noticed.

    Even if posters have no actual effect, their location is important news for us psephologists because they provide valuable information as to where the parties consider they need to campaign, i.e. which seats currently look like being close.

    The Chilcot Enquiry is more interesting than the whiltewash I expected (and to which the some extent I think it is). Am I the only one to feel it smacks a little bit of the establishment’s payback time for years of behind the scenes sheer Labour lack of executive competence? In which case one wonders what other banana skins the establishment has lined up between now and the time the election is called 9and they go into purdah)

    I can’t see a Labour PM going to jail. Cameron would worry whether it would be him next (as Nixon’s threatened impeachment was followed by that of Clinton), and I doubt whether there are any foreign Peter Tatchell’s to make citizen’s arrests of Blair or Brown.

  15. Sorrry….I meant a Labour MP (not PM) going to jail. It took GB 20 years to swap those letters around and I managed in in two keystrokes!)

    I was referring to MP David Chaytor.

  16. John B Dick – EasterRoss is a Scottish Tory, so of course that’s what’s interesting to him!

    Jay – for phone pollsters they can fairly easily drum up 500 respondents for constituency polls, so a poll with 6 respondents per constituency should not be unduly difficult.

    Peter EF – even if we do get LD v Con marginal polls they are going to be damn difficult to interpret. Still, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

    TonyM – you recall wrong, but I’ve seen lots and lots of people do the same. Aitken and Archer both went to prison after the Conservatives had lost power (in fact, neither were even charged until after the Conservatives lost power, I’m not sure Aitken even perjured himself until after the election!). I think we must associate all the sleaze stories with the last Tory government so just assume that the trials were at the same time.

    Even if the CPS do decide to bring charges against David Chaytor, which they might not, I doubt that would come to trial until after the election either.

  17. @Frederic Stansfield

    the Chilcott enquiry is the real deal not a whitewash. I think the notion of ‘an establishment’ revenge kangaroo court is way out of kilter- the establishment were all utterly signed up to the Iraq invasion as were the Tories including their leader who saw all the intelligence Blair did- and more than the cabinet did (incidentally when is *he* going to face Chilcott before the GE)?? Or is he frit?

    For both Blair and Brown (and hence Labour) there are both potential pitfalls and positives: it’s not a lose-lose as Tories think or a win-win as Mandy and Campbell think.

    It could go either way. For Blair an accomplished Campbell esque performance will lance the boll (sorry lads) once and for all (for all those who had not already made up their minds years ago): whilst a back foot evasive performance will nail him to his own petard.

    For Brown both a good and a neutral performance is a win and I can sincerely imagine Cameron this last week wishing Clegg had kept his big trap shut: “Brown too scared to face Chilcott” would have been an excellent clarion call during the GE campaign. A munch better sound bite than ‘Brown did the right thing’ which is what he was forced (by events) to say this last week.

    On the polls- a return to the pre xmas / pre H-H trend of remorseless (but miniscule) narrowing’s in the Tory lead (excluding the space cowboys of AR natch) in the run up to the GE itself. I don’t expect the Tories to fall below 38 nor reach 42 and Labour will have done phenomenally well to get to 32 but I don’t see them getting any less than 29 (sorry that was a hangover from the prediction competition of yesterday that I missed). I think – relevant to some postings here- the LD Vs Tory vote and competitive seats are going to be the real key in this election which is why a polling organisation really should get their skates on in terms of this element of the GE battle.

    Once again one is reminded of how fascinating and *unpredictable* this is all going to be.

  18. As a follow up (and apologies for ‘munch’ of a sound bite misspelling previously!) Electoral calculus has a good predictor where you can factor in tactical voting.

    A repetitive point here is that ‘the lead is bigger in the marginal’s’. That fails to allow for ‘on-the-day’ decisions to vote tactically to keep your bête noir (namely either Tories or Labour) out. This will clearly benefit LD’s in all Three ways and Tory-LD and Lab-LD marginal’s.

    If you run the numbers with even a sub 3% tactical shift quite a few of the seats on a US *don’t* change hands.

    Just a reminder of the further complicating (and unpredictable) element of tactical voting which a lot of colleagues here consistently seem to overlook in their final seat tally predictions.

  19. @Rob Sheffield – “A munch better sound bite…”

    Now that sounds tasty.

  20. ‘ROB SHEFFIELD
    @Frederic Stansfield
    the Chilcott enquiry is the real deal not a whitewash. I think the notion of ‘an establishment’ revenge kangaroo court is way out of kilter’

    I like kangaroos; stop picking on them…

  21. @Colin

    Cameron is saying what he believes and is sticking to it.

    Trouble is what he is saying doesnt add upto many voters.
    On the one hand Big Government is to blame for most
    of our problems. On the other, his Government is going to interfere to make sure more people get married.

    The proposed tax break will apply to couples who are married or in civil partnerships,regardless of whether they have children.
    I think lots of people are asking why.

  22. @ Roland
    “Its only displayed in marginals I am told and we see in such places the Tories enjoy an 8% lead. “

    @ Frederic Stansfield
    “Even if posters have no actual effect, their location is important news for us psephologists because they provide valuable information as to where the parties consider they need to campaign, i.e. which seats currently look like being close. “

    It’s certainly not true that the posters have been put up in marginals or in seats where the Tories think they can win. I myself live in the Vauxhall constituency and have seen three posters in this seat. Vauxhall is pretty solidly Labour and the Tories don’t have a chance (they got a miserly 14.9% in 2005 when Kate Hoey had a 25% lead over the Lib Dems). Indeed this is in a seat where I imagine a fair few naturally conservative voters might be voting for the Labour candidate considering some of her policy positions! The only other possible explanation is that the posters are on busy roads (Brixton Road and Kennington Road) that lead into the city centre and carry lots of people from outside of the constituency who might be voting in more marginal seats?

    Anyone else seen these posters in any other seats that you wouldn’t assume are Tory targets?

  23. @Valerie,

    Because as good as it might be that couples with existing children decide to get married, the optimum situation for child welfare is that they get married first before they even try for a child?

  24. Sounds like Dave should be banning sex before marriage.

  25. @VALERIE
    It looks a “damn nice thing, a damn close run thing” at present Valerie. Certainly those who intend to vote Tory like it, and those who are Labour or LD supporters generally dont like it. Therefore, claims that the marriage issue is electrol suicide ect ect, are far fetched.
    The point is, either you think that the irresponsibility that goes with having kids because thats what happens when a man and a girl get together is wrong. Or you think such a step should be considered very very fully before launching into parenthood. All the rest of it is rubbish.

  26. Also Colin
    Lots of couples who are married or in civil partnerships don’t have kids and/or don’t want any. Why should they get prefential treatment?

  27. @VALERIE
    Second line from bottom, “when a man and a girl get together is ok” not wrong as I stupidly typed.

  28. @Valerie,

    The bottom line is that it is perfectly possible for cohabiting couples, if they so choose, to marry or register a partnership. So the tax allowance only discriminates against them if they choose not to do so.

    And although the Tories are presenting this as being all about children, partly because they’ve been a bit stung by the “moral” case against it, I think the advantages of marriage go beyond just the stability it provides for children. Married couples cost the state less than single people do, for a myriad of reasons. By being with my fiancee I am saving the state over £15,000 pa at least. A tax break of a few hundred pounds a year doesn’t seem all that unfair set against that.

    I don’t have strong views either way to be honest. I understand the motivation for the policy. I understand the objections. I think everyone is overegging the pudding. All tax and benefits policies contain iniquities and inequalities. This hasn’t exactly been a triumph for Cameron but its not going to be his undoing either.

  29. Chilcott Enquiry – Nick Clegg called for Brown to give evidence before the election. That’s a very interesting move by the LD leader.

    Did disaffected Labour voters move to LD because of Iraq? Would more move to LD if Brown comes out of it badly?

    LD also need to think about who they’d side with in a hung parliament. If they joined up with Lab, then it went badly for Brown at the enquiry, LD supporters would be furious. Iraq is a much bigger issue with LD voters than others.

    Clegg has definitely made a smart move on this issue.

  30. Sorry, off topic.

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, apologies if they have, but, Bob Ainsworth has been quoted as saying:

    “I think the electorate will wake up rue the day if they wind up with a Conservative government in charge of this country after the 6th of May,”

    Either a slip of the tongue or a red herring

  31. Gordon Brown: 80% say he is trying to do a good job under difficult circumstances.

    If Lab can change that perception to IS DOING a good job under difficult circumstances, it could give Lab a boost in the polls.

    The Cons have made the campaign all about Cameron vs Brown; they’d need to do a sharp re-think if voters’ opinion of Brown is improving.

  32. Barry P

    Well spotted re 6 May election. I don’t think it’s a red herring; I think Ainsworth has accidentally let the cat out the bag.

  33. @BARRY P
    I would think Bob Ainsworth is so insignificant to GB that you or I have more idea of the GE date than Bob does.

  34. @AMBER STAR
    Amber have you looked at the News of The World site and read the question ? I mean pleeese.

  35. Rob Sheffield

    “On the polls- in the run up to the GE itself. I don’t expect the Tories to fall below 38 nor reach 42 and Labour will have done phenomenally well to get to 32 but I don’t see them getting any less than 29”

    Even if we ignore AR I think it is unrealistic (from a statistical perspective) to assume the polls for the Tories & Labour to stay within such narrow ranges up to the GE and I think it is likely we will see a poll outside one/both of these ranges in the course of the next fortnight.

  36. AMBER STAR

    Some of think it is more than a coincidence that now 4 ministers/ junior ministers have suggested there will be a May GE. I believe Brown is keeping his options open to have an earlier GE for some/all the following reasons.

    1. To avoid the need for a pre election budget.
    2. To reduce the scope for the Tories to spend money in the period prior to the calling of the GE.
    3. To generally wrong foot the Tories.
    4. To avoid have to appear before the Iraq enquiry before the GE.
    5. To make it easier not to appear in the TV debates.
    6. If the 4th quarter 09 GNP figures show the UK is (at least temporailly) out of recession to attempt to exploit this.

  37. Plus, don’t forget, the Labour party can’t afford to campaign properly for the locals and then start a whole fresh campaign for the GE afterwards. And their local vote is likely to be boosted by holding it on the GE date as more of their core voters will turn out.

  38. @ JAY BLANC
    “But *now* it’s an Internet Meme, the punch line to a Comedian’s Joke, and National News”

    C’est la vie. Brown has been the subject of Newspaper cartoons for ages.
    That’s politics.

    @ Valerie
    “Trouble is what he is saying doesnt add upto many voters.”

    Maybe so. If I understand Anthony’s UKPR Polling average though,ent 38% more voters intend to vote for him than for Brown-despite the misgivings which concern you, and including Scotland.

    @ Valerie
    “On the one hand Big Government is to blame for most
    of our problems. On the other, his Government is going to interfere to make sure more people get married”

    I find it quite difficult to respond to this equation Valerie.
    “Big Government” as you choose to put it is about those expensive, unproductive,& pointless Central government activities, which waste taxpayers money, and militate against individual initiative ,responsibility & freedom.
    This herefore would not include interventions which were seen as usefull-like encouraging marriage to encourage family stability, and the benefits known to flow therefrom.

    @ Valerie:-
    “The proposed tax break will apply to couples who are married or in civil partnerships,regardless of whether they have children.
    I think lots of people are asking why.”

    Yes I agree -people have been asking why , and I think Cameron will have been listening. The Centre for Social Justice ( IDS) have just proposed a range of options/costs for this proposed tax break. At the the less expensive end is an option targetted at couples with young children.This tax break is not an end in itself-it is part of a broad attack on poor social outcomes in our society-particularly for children.It is mistaken to see it in isolation.

    @ Valerie
    “Lots of couples who are married or in civil partnerships don’t have kids and/or don’t want any. Why should they get prefential treatment?”

    A very good question. The fact is that the Benefits system has all sorts of perverse incentives & disincentives in it. That’s not surprising-its very complex.
    IDS is trying to persuade DC that one of these disincentives impacts couples. This only matters though if you believe the evidence that IDS has accumulated about the benefits for children.

    I would add another-more topical example:-THe State has , for a number of years paid substantial benefits to a dysfunctional family, who appear to have had enough money as a result to purchae regular supplies of drugs, alcohol & pornographic & violent DVDs. THese were liberally pressed upon their two young children, who recently attempted to murder two other young children, after torturing them. I am sure you would agree that this is an undesirable incentive.

    More relevant perhaps to your question
    is this question which IDS asked ED Balls recently:-

    “Do youthinkman or woman who chooses to stay at home to look after their children is doing a less viable job than someone on an assembly line?’ When a worker goes out to build a car, the Government gives him a tax exemption, if she or he stays at home you double tax that family by not allowing that tax exemption to your question ”

    So it’s a question of trying to remove the disincentives which Cons do not wish to have in the Tax & Benefits system. If you agree with the objectives they have in this quest, you will probably wait & see if it produces more -or less-fairness. I suppose if you do not agree with their objectives, you will tend to look for the unfairnesses on a piecemeal basis.

  39. re NOTW poll

    “Almost 80% say the Prime Minister is trying to do a good job under difficult circumstances. ”

    I think you’d have to be very mean spirited to believe GB is trying to do a bad job.

    “Mr Cameron enjoys a 12-point lead over Mr Brown when voters are asked who would make the best Prime Minister (45% to 33%).”

    This seems like good news for the tories. Especially as this poll was conducted wholly in Labour seats. This would surely be a more important question for floating voters (agree/disagree?) than for those who vote on party lines regardless.

    “That figure includes almost a quarter of the people who say they voted Labour in 2005. ”

    I was unsure what thr NOTW meant by this. Are they saying that a quarter of people who voted Labour in 2005 (in the marginals) think Cameron would make a better Prime Minister than Brown? If I were Gordon Brown I’d be hurt by that.

    Does anyone know what correlation there is between the “Best Prime Minister” question and voting intention?

  40. @Mike – I think I’m right in saying that the party spending restrictions started on 1st January. The actual date of the election will therefore not be relevant in this regard. I think the May 6th slip is just that – a slip. (Although not really news, it has to be said).

    Regarding the married couples allowance – I think Roland is right to point out that there is an even split on the actual measure, and this probably reflects party breakdown by and large so on the face of it it doesn’t seem like a big vote loser. However, the bigger question people might ask is whether it is effective in doing the intended task (ie supporting marriage) and whether it is the most cost effective means to do this. On both counts, in my view, the answer is a resounding no. This may not make any difference, but I have already read articles and blog posts that highlight Cameron’s ‘sent a signal’ line and link this to airbrushed posters (oops – not meant to mention that) with the question of whether Cameron is just doing this as a gesture. Its a tricky one. As an aside on the efficacy of the policy, if supporting families is the aim, the married parents of the unfortunate Edlington boys would have received this additional support under Cameron’s plans, but is this really the best way to spend money to resolve these issues?

  41. @ ROLAND HAINES

    I did read the NOW article.

    Your routine bashing of anyone who makes a non-negative comment about Labour is becoming tiresomely predictable.

    I am tempted to stop reading your posts.

  42. @ MIKE

    So you think 6 May is a red herring & it’s the party line to trail it whenever possible?

    Do you think voters might be a bit ticked off to be robbed of the debates? I’d think those would have to brought forward if it is March.

    The media would be incandescent if the debates were cancelled don’t you think?

    My questions are not rhetorical, I’m really interested in what people think about this :-)

  43. Was this poll taken before or after Dave said he would pay for his tax break for married couples by caning motorists yet again? Not a smart move, Dave.

  44. @MIKE

    on Labour 29-32 and Tories 38-42

    “Even if we ignore AR I think it is unrealistic (from a statistical perspective) to assume the polls for the Tories & Labour to stay within such narrow ranges up to the GE and I think it is likely we will see a poll outside one/both of these ranges in the course of the next fortnight.”

    sorry not being clear enough- those were my fence sitting actual GE prediction ‘ranges’ but I put them in this thread rather than the one from yesterday where people were giving their predictions.

    Yep- excluding AR (which for eons now it seems, has been giving a certain diehard cohort on this site some premature backslapping) there will be lots of polls over the next 100 days that give one group or another on here pause to pop the corks a little too early !!

    Fascinating.

  45. @Amber Star

    “@ ROLAND HAINES
    Your routine bashing of anyone who makes a non-negative comment about Labour is becoming tiresomely predictable.”

    here here…

    …and these types are the first to drone on about this being a ‘non partisan forum’ as well !!

  46. @MIKE

    “I believe Brown is keeping his options open to have an earlier GE for some/all the following reasons.

    1. To avoid the need for a pre election budget.
    2. To reduce the scope for the Tories to spend money in the period prior to the calling of the GE.
    3. To generally wrong foot the Tories.
    4. To avoid have to appear before the Iraq enquiry before the GE.
    5. To make it easier not to appear in the TV debates.
    6. If the 4th quarter 09 GNP figures show the UK is (at least temporailly) out of recession to attempt to exploit this.”

    1. The pre election budget spelling out the minutiae of the cutting programme is *essential* to the labour campaign: its main aim (as well as giving the detail that professionals like Mervyn King and amateurs like Jeff Randall are demanding) will be to force out (at last) the detail from the Tories. This of course assumes they have full details that are costed and watertight and I suspect that Labour strategists are assuming they haven’t and that a similar scenario will develop as on the other (few) occasions any detail has emanated from CCO: namely confusing backtracking and a fall in the polls. This ignores the possibility people won’t like the cutting Labour announces (and tax increases) and be more affected by that in their opinions plus that the Tories have not got their act together. It’s tempting for Labours backroom to believe that especially harking back to those shambolic (for the Tories) 2 days prior to Hoon-Hewitt, and Darling has apparently commented on that at last week’s ‘political cabinet’. But who can be sure this is not all a brilliant tactical ruse to appear like an upside down iceberg- nothing below the surface- but actually the powder is being kept well and truly dry. That would be right out of the playbook of Airey Neave and the Thatcher-Saatchi period !?
    2. They have a mountain of non domicile overseas cash to spend. Plus all the masses already spent- a lot of it rather wastefully such as the Vauxhall posters mentioned on here elsewhere. So don’t think this will make much difference.
    3. See (1).
    4. Brown has given the promise now (and made much of doing it in that way he has) so that’s done and dusted- MAJOR negative if he backed off now.
    5. Brown is behind in the polls by a country mile and ridiculed in the media as a weirdo. Cameron is in front in the polls and portrayed in the media (that are desperate to coronate him) as a slick public performer. The debates are a much bigger potential trapdoor for Cameron than they are for Brown.
    6. This week we have 4th quarter of 09 and in late April- smack in the middle of a May 6th Campaign- we have the first quarter figures for 2010 which will also see positive growth.

    1-6 ALL would indicate a May 6th election (or slightly later)

  47. ‘NEIL A
    @Valerie,
    The bottom line is that it is perfectly possible for cohabiting couples, if they so choose, to marry or register a partnership. So the tax allowance only discriminates against them if they choose not to do so.
    And although the Tories are presenting this as being all about children, partly because they’ve been a bit stung by the “moral” case against it, I think the advantages of marriage go beyond just the stability it provides for children’

    Pathetic argument; it’s the quality of the relationship which matters, not its legal status. Co-incidentally this may reflect well on married couples; it is not due to them being married. A does not cause B; B may be caused by all sots of other reasons.

    But when is politics about logic?

  48. Frederic Stansfield
    “how far it is to British “Other” parties such as the Greens and UKIP”

    Careful with your use of “British” there. Unlike “Scottish Labour”, the “Scottish L-Ds” and the “Scottish Conservatives”, the Scottish Greens are a real party, quite separate from the Green Party which runs in England (not sure about Wales!). The Scottish Greens are in no sense a “British” party in that they support Scottish independence.

    Also, whatever you may think of their policies, it’s hard to deny that UKIP are not just a “British” party but truly a UK one, as they want to disband Stormont just as much as they want to disband Holyrood and Cardiff.

  49. Alec – spending restrictions did indeed kick in on 1st Jan, but the election date does still make a difference – the amount the parties can spend changes depending on how long the period between Jan 1st and the election is (I can’t remember the actual figures, but if anyone is interested it will be on the electoral commission site somewhere)

  50. @Neil A

    “By being with my fiance I am saving the state £15,000 a year at least”

    How?

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