Maybe It’s A Rogue Poll, But At Least There’s A Chink Of Light

Twitter has been buzzing today as a result of the publication of an Ipsos MORI poll in The Observer which shows the Conservative lead down to only 6% after a period which has seen Tory leads of up to 20% in some surveys. The UK Polling Report’s swing calculator projects that this would be the outcome of such a result at a General Election:

A poll like this will give a lift to anyone who isn’t an enthusiast for David Cameron’s project to restore the levers of power to the Conservative Party. Gordon Brown and his followers will feel that the game isn’t up quite yet, particularly since the current parliamentary boundaries benefit Labour disproportionately (for example, if Labour and the Tories both polled 36% Gordon Brown would have 333 MPs compared to David Cameron’s 246). The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, will see an opening for the Holy Grail of a hung parliament and the possibility of negotiating to replace Britain’s bizarre first-past-the-post voting system with something that actually reflects the voters’ wishes.

As I’ve previously posted, I don’t believe the Tories have ‘closed the deal’ with the electorate yet, despite two years of mammoth poll leads and media coverage which seems infuriatingly reluctant to ask the Tories any difficult questions on policy.

Nevertheless, we must remember that this is just one poll. I still remember ‘Wobbly Thursday’ during the 1987 election campaign (yes, I’ve been an anorak for years) when Margaret Thatcher’s poll lead was almost wiped out, and the 1992 campaign consisted almost entirely of rogue polls (only one Gallup poll gave the eventual winner, John Major, a lead in the polls – of 0.5%).

So my instinct about this poll is that it could be merely a blip, but I think it also shows that next year’s General Election might still be an awful lot closer than anyone thinks.



  1. I agree that we must be cautious. I remember following those latterly mentioned polls with you. I’m not sure voters will take too kindly to the tories telling them how much they need to suffer. I also think they may suffer a Kinnock-like situation where voters who intened to vote tory suddenly think again when they get to the ballot box, as they did in 92 when John Major inexplicably won 5 more years.

    I still feel that the Lib Dems haven’t benefitted enough from the sleaze factor – probably because they haven’t taken the risky step of pointing out how clean Lib Dem hands were (relatively speaking) during the Spring/Summer revelations.

    A slight change in fortune for anyone could give us that hung parliament and the long overdue electoral reform that our seemingly tired democracy needs.

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