Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has now been published. Topline figures with changes from their last poll in mid-September, before conference season, are CON 33%(+3), LAB 43%(+2), LDEM 9%(-4), UKIP 6%. The Labour lead remains pretty steady at around ten points, again roughly the same sort of Labour leads MORI have been showing since May.

Part leader satisfaction ratings are Cameron minus 29 (from minus 24 last month), Miliband minus 12 (from minus 9 last month), Clegg minus 45 (from minus 43 last month).


309 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 9, UKIP 6”

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  1. “50% drop”

  2. Well if romney does win the presidency he better be ready to hit the ground running, earning season is is proving disappointing and the market looks ready to blow.

  3. ChrisLane1945

    Congratulations on your son’s degree.

    My daughter graduated 18 years ago, and I was sily enough to think the financial drain would end then …. :-)

  4. @PeterCairns

    “Except that doesn’t ICM still adjust for how people voted at the last election?
    If we do have a substantial shift in LibDem support and that it is perminant then their normally reliable and often praised adjustment for false recall might actually be having the opposite effect to what it is supposed to.”

    It occurred to me, reading your post. If the economy does far better (more ups than downs) from now until 2015, might we also have to work in a ‘economic management’ factor for some of the voters who voted Lib Dem last time?

    Many might never have voted Conservative on the grounds that their upbringing and/or memories were of 1990 Thatcher & Major with Blair being the great perceived thing that he was. Fast forward to 2010, some may not have wanted Con or Lab, so voted Lib (Clegg mania was a 20s/30s woman thing, wasn’t it? If so, we’re taling people who voted first in ’97 or ’01).

    In 2015, there will be voters to win for the Conservatives there too (and for Labour of course). The difficult question is whether coalition economic success rubs off on Clegg? It doesn’t seem obvious so far that it will. Perhaps Clegg can remind the voters of what he stopped the Conservatives from doing (he’ll need to remind me too, as I can’t think of anything as I type).

  5. Statgeek

    What kind of Tory are you that can’t think of a single thing clegg has stopped your guys from doing. That’s a damming indictment but many blues would disagree, they moan a lot about this not being a true conservative govt and its the wish wash dems fault, but they rarely get specific

  6. MitM
    I was referring to ‘this poll’ as the one on this thread. Regarding ‘momentum’ I was referring to Nate Silver telling me there was.

    Sorry I was not clear.

    Socal, Nate Silver of 528 tells me that Gallop are all over the place (volatile) and national polls aren’t worth a candle anyway. My understanding is that Obama is on course to win the swing state of Ohio and that is all that matters. Do you agree?

    it is apparently like our 100 marginals only more so.

    CL, bask in reflected glory, well done all.

  7. Rather pleased to hear that my comments on the feel good factor have just
    Been echoed by that man outside number 10 on BBC1.But you heard it here
    First!

  8. @ maninthemiddle

    Re Romney winning the Electoral College vote. The problem with your analysis that the average state polls for Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada and Iowa have not shown Romney ahead in any of those states in the last six months so I am not sure why that could be expected to change over the next 12 days. If anything Obama’s advantage in the key state polls is increasing in the last couple of days with Virginia now a tie and Florida and even North Carolina back in play.

    I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the National polls as, looking at the details in the Gallup tracker for example, Romney is piling up majorities right across the south but not where he needs the votes to win the EC. I guess it’s a similar situation to why the Tories here need a much larger lead than Labour in the popular vote to win a majority of seats.

  9. @RCWhiting

    The party conferences seem to have reduced the likeability of all three leaders. I wonder when they will decide to do without them completely?

    Hmm. Not sure that’s so.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/2z8p0zm.png

  10. “What kind of Tory are you”

    I’m the non-Tory, non-Lib Dem kind. Perhaps that might explain why I couldn’t think of one offhand.

  11. @RCWhiting

    Forgot to mention; the transparent blocks represent the party conferences.

  12. @ Pete B

    That is why I would love to see one of the You Gov polls doing polls in marginals (or polls that show how specific battlegrounds are going) rather than 4 polls each week telling us the same thing! Then we could prove or disprove that theory.

  13. Shevii – Agreed!

  14. Interesting now that there are fervent discussions in some parts of the world of economics about a triple dip recession. It’s really far too far off to start thinking in these terms yet, but the very fact that it’s even been mooted is warning enough that this wasn’t a normal recession, and it won’t be a normal recovery.

    I think there has been a deal of complacency on both sides of the political divide regarding the economy. Some parts of the Labour party (not the leadership, in my view) seem to be happy to rely on a bad outcome for the economy in 2015. The government, and particularly the Tories, just seemed to assume that after a recession there is a recovery, and have been remarkably slow to grasp the need for proactive growth measures.

    The crunch and recession was a massive event, the like of which hasn’t been seen since the 1930’s. Far too many people in politics really don’t seem to have grasped this, and the effect of the debt overhang.

    I suspect this set of GDP figures is going to be a rare gem in a pretty turgid series, but I equally wouldn’t rule out the risk of another recession before 2015.

  15. Hello all, long time no see!!!

    On the US elections;

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but despite the desire of the US media to call it a close race, it’s actually not as close as they make it look. There are only in reality about 8 swing states in this election, and they’re what count. Romney could get the popular vote, as he is closer to Obama in national polls, but the American system only counts electoral College votes, so Obama could still win. Counting up the states where they are 99% likely to vote for a specific candidate, (ie non-swing states), Obama is a lot closer to the necessary 270 than Romney by a good twenty or thirty ECV if I recall correctly. So out of the 8 swing states, Obama only needs two or three of them, and he takes the Presidency. Ohio is slowly moving towards Obama, as are a few others, so all he needs is Florida and a smaller one like Nevada, and he’s sorted. In the marginals Obama tends to be either ahead, or level with Romney, and he is also ahead in postal votes. Romney could win the presidency, but he’d need a huge surge, as it stands, Obama has over a 70% chance of retaining the whitehouse.

  16. @Scotswaehae

    That’s my understanding. But if Obama wins “small”, that could throw a spanner in the works where the votes are counted for the HoR and the Senate – particularly the HoR

    It’s actually remarkable that Romney’s centrist image is holding.

    I guess 10 days or so is a long time in politics so we’ll see.

  17. I know it’s slightly out of date, but here’s a bizarre article on Labour List about the Corby poll:

    http://labourlist.org/2012/10/ignore-the-tory-spin-machine-winning-in-corby-and-east-northamptonshire-will-be-tough/

  18. @Hannah

    Erm…we’ll have to wait and see… :)

  19. My view of American politics these days is that it’s a bit like Ancient Rome.

    Most of the time Caesar can’t actually do anything because senate thwarted his every action to limit his power over them and to protect themselves or their faction often against their fellow senators.

    I’d like Obama to win but I doubt if he does the system will let him achieve anything of worth and I doubt Romney would either.

    I have a notion, nothing more, that Democratic Presidents have better ideas but get less through because the Republicans are so partisan and Republican Presidents fewer good policies but probably get more past the Democrats.

    A generalisation, but one that means it really doesn’t make that much difference who is in the Whitehouse and regardless of who it is I’ve more or less given up on America giving any kind of International leadership.

    I am not anti American and think Americans in general are great people but most of the ones I know, Republicans and Democrats all but dispair of their own political system.

    Peter

  20. @HANNAH

    Not so bizarre, the article simply seems to say that one poll does not a victory make.

  21. @ Chris Lane 1945

    “Proud day tomorrow for me and for my wife. Our son receives his degree in Oxford tomorrow.”

    Congratulations! That’s awesome!

    @ Paul Croft

    “I am keeping fingers crossed for Nov 6th. My birthday is on the 8th and it would be a rotten present [for me] if we had to look forward to Pres Romney.”

    I sympathize. It would be a rotten Thanksgiving for me.

  22. For several years leading up to the 1997 election the British economy enjoyed quite significant economic growth and falling unemployment.It did not seem to help the Tories much when polling day arrived!

  23. The Labour 1997 victory did have a major economic component.

    Black Wednesday that sealed the fate of the Major government. In 1992 the Cons were a ahead of Labour on the economy. After BW the Tories lost their invincibility.

    Labour were able to even up and then take the lead on economic questions. So even though the economy was improving it was partly on economic competence that Labour won.

  24. Graham.

    Aye, but those were very different times. We’d been told that the severe pain of the early 80s had transformed the economic prospects of the UK, so when we went through it all again in the early 90s, the public’s patience with the Tories snapped. And it stayed snapped for a generation.

    (And the various and manifold sexual and financial peccadillos of the Tory party hardly helped either, and must not be ignored when we recall why Major’s Govt was so loathed.)

    Today, we have a much more nuanced situation. It is much less clear who is to blame for the current economic ills. Both sides can put a very plausible story together.

    The result is that we are back to real politics for the first time in a couple of generations. We have two reasonably well balanced major parties (the balance being in their support levels rather than their philosophies – obviously, one side is full of raving nutters). The outcome of ’15 will be decided as much by the skill of the politicking on the two sides, as by an obvious and unarguable preponderance of evidence of on one side having clearly won the argument.

    It’s going to be a fun couple of years.

  25. Lefty:

    “….one side is full of raving nutters.”

    That’s a bit hard in Ed Balls. I’m starting to quite like him

  26. @Paul Croft

    Re: Birthdays and the US presidential election

    Well it’s mine on Sunday – close but no cigar. However, it’s my sister’s on 7th Nov ! :)

  27. @ Howard

    “Socal, Nate Silver of 528 tells me that Gallop are all over the place (volatile) and national polls aren’t worth a candle anyway. My understanding is that Obama is on course to win the swing state of Ohio and that is all that matters. Do you agree?

    it is apparently like our 100 marginals only more so.”

    Let me say a few things.

    1. Ohio is very important. However, Obama can win without Ohio. Romney can’t (it’s next to impossible especially now that Nevada looks like it is leaning to Obama and I think Colorado will go to Obama as well but that’s still a tossup).

    2. Obama is on track to win Ohio but I don’t feel confident enough to predict it.

    3. National polls DO mean something. Listen, I know that a lot of pundits are saying different things and suggesting stuff. And I’m sure there are some British pundits suggesting the same thing. I tell you they might know about as much about Americans as your former leader King George III did. But look, the National Popular vote and the Electoral College almost always match up. For them not to is unnatural and bizarre. There is only one election in U.S. history where one candidate lost the popular vote but won a majority of the electoral college vote where the result was as the voters had intended when they cast their ballots. That was 1888. Even in that election, there was some bizarreness (one of your Ambassadors accidentally interfering) and there may have been some monkey business.

    Now. Does the popular vote match up exactly percentage wise with the electoral college? No. And as a Lib Dem you know what’s that’s like in a Parliamentary system with seat totals. But I would be honestly, in total shock if the electoral college gave a majority to a candidate who lost the popular vote, even if it’s a close vote.

  28. @ Scotswaehae

    “Forgive me if I’m wrong, but despite the desire of the US media to call it a close race, it’s actually not as close as they make it look. There are only in reality about 8 swing states in this election, and they’re what count. Romney could get the popular vote, as he is closer to Obama in national polls, but the American system only counts electoral College votes, so Obama could still win. Counting up the states where they are 99% likely to vote for a specific candidate, (ie non-swing states), Obama is a lot closer to the necessary 270 than Romney by a good twenty or thirty ECV if I recall correctly. So out of the 8 swing states, Obama only needs two or three of them, and he takes the Presidency. Ohio is slowly moving towards Obama, as are a few others, so all he needs is Florida and a smaller one like Nevada, and he’s sorted. In the marginals Obama tends to be either ahead, or level with Romney, and he is also ahead in postal votes. Romney could win the presidency, but he’d need a huge surge, as it stands, Obama has over a 70% chance of retaining the whitehouse.”

    Well as I explained to Howard, the national popular vote does matter. No need to repeat myself.

    If the President wins Ohio, he wins reelection. Why do I say that? Because it looks like Nevada is leaning the President’s direction. Now, the media has put North Carolina into Romney’s column and that’s a mistake. PPP, a North Carolina based pollster with an excellent reputation, puts Obama and Romney in a tie in that state at 48% a peice among Likely Voters. If they go into election day with those numbers, Obama wins that state. It will take all night and maybe into the next day to project the winner but Obama will win. Given the current state of polling in the upper Midwest, unless there are major upsets in those states, Romney can’t win without North Carolina. Ditto for Virginia, which is now leaning the President’s way.

    Arizona has been counted as a Romney lock, I’m still not convinced. If he cannot win Arizona, he’s lost.

    Just a reference point, most major polls noted a tied race among Likely voters heading into the 2004 Presidential election. But same polls showed Dubya nursing a 2%-3% lead among Registered Voters. You know how that went.

    Now MSNBC reporter Steve Kornacki seems to think there’s a better thasn usual chance of the Electoral College producing a different result than the popular vote. Now Steve Kornacki is very intelligent (in fact, his intelligence I think makes him look hotter, just saying) but he’s wrong here.

  29. @SoCalLiberal

    Interestingly Nate Silver has been saying today that Romney post Denver debate momentum has now “stopped”. However, Romney’s momentum (prior to it’s halt) has narrowed the gap nationally from Obama +4 to Obama +1. Is the “stoppage” a prelude to a shift towards Obama. Apparently, that’s not clear.

    I really like the 538 site – it’s very user friendly. And I can’t believe Nate’s just 34! – i’d thought he would be in his 50s. His new book about probability and predictions also sounds very interesting. The one thing that concerns me despite the apparently non-partisan nature of, the,site is that I get the, impression (not just because he works for the,NY Times) that NS is a Democrat. Does he have a Republican counterpart?

  30. @RAF

    Nate is, primarily, a statistician! His approach to calculati the impact of the electoral college on the outcome uses Monte Carlo simulation based around a regression model that takes not account various factors including national and state polls and economic stuff too. It’s clever and (for the US) fairly accurate…

    His posts, like AW’s, are pretty non partisan. I don’t detect any confirmation bias!

    Of course folks here seem to bemore interested in the Tigers vs the Giants at the moment – I’m sat here in a bar in Gettysburg

  31. @ RAF

    “Interestingly Nate Silver has been saying today that Romney post Denver debate momentum has now “stopped”. However, Romney’s momentum (prior to it’s halt) has narrowed the gap nationally from Obama +4 to Obama +1. Is the “stoppage” a prelude to a shift towards Obama. Apparently, that’s not clear.”

    I’m curious to see what the RAND poll says on it. There are other events that may influence and impact this as well. I’m curious to see what effect the Richard Mourdock statements, the Colin Powell endorsement (that guy has an impeccable sense of timing), and the Gloria Allred bombshell story do to affect polling. Also, with that national average, is that of LVs or RVs?

    @ RAF

    “I really like the 538 site – it’s very user friendly. And I can’t believe Nate’s just 34! – i’d thought he would be in his 50s. His new book about probability and predictions also sounds very interesting. The one thing that concerns me despite the apparently non-partisan nature of, the,site is that I get the, impression (not just because he works for the,NY Times) that NS is a Democrat. Does he have a Republican counterpart?”

    He is a Democrat or at least a Liberal (if he’s not a registered Dem). I know this because he was a blogger at Daily Kos. His name was Poblano. Ironically, he was outed by a very bad and spiteful polling firm, American Research Group. This seemed to make him more popular and led to his blog being picked up the NY Times. He doesn’t have a Republican counterpart but he doesn’t need one. He’s unbiased.

  32. @SocalLiberal
    ” I’m curious to see what the RAND poll says on it. There are other events that may influence and impact this as well. I’m curious to see what effect the Richard Mourdock statements, the Colin Powell endorsement (that guy has an impeccable sense of timing), and the Gloria Allred bombshell story do to affect polling. Also, with that national average, is that of LVs or RVs?”

    It’s not clear whether the national average given is of LV or RV. It’s based on about six or seven trackers, including Gallup. Most show a movement towards Obama or no change. Only one though shows a strengthening of Romney’s position (hence the halwt to his momentum).

  33. @SocalLiberal

    Surely Colin Powell’s endorsement will bolster Obama’s support among Independents? It seems so comprehensive. He even hits out at the current Republican Party, saying it’s a lonely place for moderates
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/25/powell-endorses-obama-again/

    As for the timing it suggests one of two things: either (a) that he, wants, to give Obama the, biggest,possible boost; or (b) he wants to, inflict maximum possible damage on Romney’s chances.

  34. @The Sheep
    ” Nate is, primarily, a statistician! His approach to calculati the impact of the electoral college on the outcome uses Monte Carlo simulation based around a regression model that takes not account various factors including national and state polls and economic stuff too. It’s clever and (for the US) fairly accurate…
    His posts, like AW’s, are pretty non partisan. I don’t detect any confirmation bias!”

    I see you’ve studied him closely! It will be interesting to see how close he, gets, this, time.

    “Of course folks here seem to bemore interested in the Tigers vs the Giants at the moment – I’m sat here in a bar in Gettysburg”
    Baseball in a bar? You’ll be pleased to know it’s on ESPN America HD on this side, of, the,Pond (well you might be…) I believe SocalL is a Giants fan so I salute him taking, the, time out to post tonight.

  35. See now, when you lovely people speak of someone being a Progressive, you refer to Francois Hollande who is taxing the wealthy at 75% income tax and wants to get rid of homework (among other things).

    When I use the term progressive, I speak of elected officials like this:

    http://www.ericgarcetti.com/foxvid

  36. @ Raf

    “It’s not clear whether the national average given is of LV or RV. It’s based on about six or seven trackers, including Gallup. Most show a movement towards Obama or no change. Only one though shows a strengthening of Romney’s position (hence the halwt to his momentum).”

    Most have shown movement towards Obama, ABC Poll showed movement to Romney tonight. But honestly? I feel like at this point, much of it is all within the margin of error and statistical noise.

    “Baseball in a bar? You’ll be pleased to know it’s on ESPN America HD on this side, of, the,Pond (well you might be…) I believe SocalL is a Giants fan so I salute him taking, the, time out to post tonight.”

    That statement is blasphemy, Raf! I am a Dodger fan! (I’m also slowly becoming a Nats fan). The Dodgers and Giants have a long running, ultra heated, angry rivalry. I am rooting for the Giants in the World Series though.

    “Surely Colin Powell’s endorsement will bolster Obama’s support among Independents? It seems so comprehensive. He even hits out at the current Republican Party, saying it’s a lonely place for moderates
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/25/powell-endorses-obama-again/

    It does help a great deal. His voice carries great gravitas with people. He is one of the most respected Republicans out there and his voice carries a great weight. It wasn’t an endorsement that the Obama campaign was expecting either apparently. I don’t think that’s spin either. I was tweeting about it before the Obama Campaign Press Secretary was.

    “As for the timing it suggests one of two things: either (a) that he, wants, to give Obama the, biggest,possible boost; or (b) he wants to, inflict maximum possible damage on Romney’s chances.”

    He is a great soldier (a true loyal American soldier). And if nothing else, great soldiers know impeccable timing. I think both a and b were in mind.

    Here’s what I’ve always found ironic. There are a number of prominent African Americans who were sometimes mentioned as Presidential materials over the years who have done their best to sabotage the President. But those ideas were always pipe dreams. Colin Powell on the other hand could have been the first black President. He actually had a realistic shot. And Obama is sitting there in not just his seat but his place in history.

  37. @Ann
    “If EdM is going to win in2015 ,he has to get rid of Balls.IMO.”
    They seem to have been really raising the profile of Rachel Reeves lately and I wonder if that’s so that they replace Balls with her in late 2013/early 2014.
    PPE from Oxford and MSc in economics from LSE – worked as an economist for the BoE followed by working for HBoS.
    Clearly qualified for the job.

    All –
    Con 33, Lab 44, Lib 10, UKIP 6
    Hardly the ‘regular 10-12’ that UKIP were plugging on BBCQT. ;)
    Approval -36

    Kind of society I want to live in –
    Con – 28 (nc)
    Lab – 29 (+1)
    Lib – 10 (nc)

    Led by people of real ability –
    Con 18 (-3)
    Lab 19 (+3)
    Lib 4 (+1)
    I imagine this figure will change for the better for the Cons by the next time this is asked (barring black swan events).

    Prepared to take tough decisions –
    Con 41 (-7)
    Lab 14 (+3)
    Lib 5 (+1)

    Seems to chop and change –
    Con 28 (+4)
    Lab 22 (-1)
    Lib 27 (-4)

    Best PM?
    Cameron – 33 (-2)
    Miliband – 35 (+2)
    Clegg 5 – (nc)
    Again, I suspect this will change to a more positive figure for Cameron by the next time it’s asked.

  38. I wonder if the Midlands & Wales numbers are mixed up. My first thought was the Ford closures, and then my geography caught up with me. MoE?

    Last four polls prior, and then today:

    36 28 31 37 | 27
    42 49 48 43 | 53

    Maybe it’s just sampling what not. Strange that there should be a 10 point swing in one poll. For what it’s worth my MAD numbers give me:

    Con 35.7
    Lab 43.6

    Not a bad sample either. Only 5% below average.

  39. Tinged

    ” PPE from Oxford and MSc in economics from LSE – worked as an economist for the BoE followed by working for HBoS. Clearly qualified for the job.”

    Sounds like any other failed economist of the last 30 years

  40. RiN
    Well she is a proponent of stimulus spending and QEing our way out of recession, so hardly the neoliberal political view.

  41. Best PM Miliband 25 not 35, FWiW (not a lot, IMO).

    PPE from Oxford says a lot about the ambition of a politician, but next to nothing about their suitability for ministerial office.

  42. @SOCAL
    “There is only one election in U.S. history where one candidate lost the popular vote but won a majority of the electoral college vote where the result was as the voters had intended when they cast their ballots. That was 1888.”

    What about 2000? Or is that last bit of the first sentence meant to suggest that the votes in Florida were not counted in accordance with voters’ intentions? Even if it does, it does show that the popular vote and the college vote are not necessarily the same thing.

  43. Who said badgers don’t vote?

  44. @Alec

    Your comments on “triple dip” could be right but some commentators do not believe we have ever been in double dip, a view I share. I expect future revisions of the GDP numbers to show we have been in very slow growth for some time now.

    I do agree with you on the depth of the 2008 recession and that recovery will be a long hard slog. Further real cuts in public spending will help, provided the money saved is used to promote inward investment.

  45. toh

    Fortunately, I suspect that your preference for taking still more demand out of the economy is losing currency.

    But we shall see.

  46. The Huffington Post has a good graphical Election Dashboard for those with an interest in the US elections, helped me visualise the situation.

    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/2012/romney-vs-obama-electoral-map

    Regarding the economy I was struck by how little crowing there was over the Q3 GDP figure by the government spokesmen I saw. They welcomed the positive news, but seemed to be deliberately underplaying expectations. I think many months of poor to negative growth are on the cards, and when we look back on this period terms such as double or triple dip recession will be seen as largely meaningless. My understanding of double dip recession (and correct me if I’m wrong) was of a second recession sharper and deeper than the first which hasn’t happened. Perhaps we need a new term to describe this prolonged period of bumping along the bottom.

  47. The bitter reality of the UK economy is that we will be on the receiving end as the Eurozone economy contracts further .

    The Coalition and a future Labour Government are powerless

  48. @Nick P

    Clearly we disagree on economics but you could be right that I think needs to be done will not happen. The LD’s may well prevent the Government from taking what i rhink is the right action, sadly. This will make recovery a much more drawn out affair.

  49. Unless Obama wins the majority of the US vote he will have no authority whatsoever. Not that he’s a particularly strong President now.

  50. Because we’re on a site dedicated to political opinion polling, I suppose I should confine my thoughts on yesterday’s Q3 GDP figures to what effect I think they will have on voting intentions; for now and into the longer future. If the growth in our economy continues as strongly as these latest figures show, notwithstanding the special components that applied to this quarter that might have exaggerated the figures, then, in time, the incumbent government will undoubtedly gain some sort of political reward. Not because the quarterly publication of the actual GDP figures in themselves will make them feel generous and grateful towards the government, but because sustained economic growth will positively effect household incomes and people’s purchasing power. This is the virtuous circle of a growth spurt; higher aggregate demand for goods and services and increased employment. Greater tax revenues for the Treasury and less having to be spent on social security and welfare benefits. Deficit and borrowing goes down too. The elusive feelgood factor and consumer confidence returns. So far so good, but the question is whether what we’ve just seen is sustainable and is the precursor to a steady recovery.

    As a set of figures, I’d be very surprised if yesterday’s announcement on growth will have any discernible effect on the opinion polls. It’s too early and nebulous for that and the incompetence narrative about this government is too ingrained to be washed away by sporadic bits of economic news. Expect double-digit leads for Labour to continue for a while yet. If vibrant growth re-appears and continues, however, the polls will tighten.

    Better short-term news for the Government though, if only that it allows Osborne to get back on the front foot with Balls, but as most economic commentators have observed, one set of maybe eccentric growth figures doesn’t disprove the main tenet of Ball’s economic argument at all. In essence that argument states that a steady recovery was underway in 2010 but was extinguished, and the economy plunged into a double-dip recession, by the government’s foolhardy austerity programme. Accordingly, we’ve experienced a lost year in our recovery from the 2008 economic crash and businesses and households have paid a high price as a result. The deficit and borrowing reduction plan has been badly blown off course too.

    The inevitable recovery, now or if it has come, doesn’t really vindicate Osborne’s policy at at all. It’s rather like a fireman claiming credit for eventually extinguishing a fire as he gazes on a burnt out ruin, ignoring the claims that a good part of the building might have been saved had he applied some water a little earlier. All flames extinguish eventually; the question is what damage have they done as the blaze raged and how much sooner could the fire have been put out. Balls’ argument is that Osborne has been a delinquent fireman and deserves little credit for an eventually extinguished fire that blew itself out by natural causes.

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