Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Home Spun Politician

Can it be true? The Tories have a poll lead sufficient to give them a majority? Well, not really. They will have to do much better than this mid term if they are to get the swing they need to win an election outright.

Whilst 40% in today's Guardian ICM poll will no doubt have brought a smile to the Cameroonies, as the Times points out, that will give them a majority of only 10, on a uniform swing. And we know, uniform swings are not the bread and butter anymore of UK general elections (remember 1997 when our share of the vote went down and our number of seats doubled). In other words, local campaigning and constituency factors influence individual results. And there are no better people to make that happen than Lib Dems ourselves!

When Blair was Opposition Leader, he and Labour had poll ratings that were in the stratosphere. There is nothing like that for the Conservatives at the moment. In those 3 years in the run up to the 1997 general election, Labour's lead in the opinion polls was substantial because the Lib Dems were registering poll ratings at best half what they are now.

The Conservatives are therefore not seen as the only alternative to Labour. And that is shown in the polls at the moment. Indeed, we have come a long way when we think of 17% for us in the polls (the figure in last month's Guardian ICM poll) as disappointing when only 10 years ago that sort of figure would have seen us cracking open the organic, locally produced, sustainably sourced champagne!

Cameron has seen his personal standings slip. For example, take the results of the Mori poll in the Sunday Times:

Politicians are often accused of being all spin and no substance, would you say this is or is not a fair criticism of the following politicians?

Leader Fair Unfair Index
Blair 64 28 -36
Cameron 42 31 -11
Brown 41 45 +4
Campbell 28 36 +8

So Campbell is seen as the most unspun of the leaders.

Good poll ratings however, even if they do not indicate a general election win, are good for moral (and the reverse likewise). Cameron will at least be happy with that. And at 22%, so should we. Mind you, getting the tax proposals approved by conference will bring a further smile to Lib Dem faces!

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