Today's poll in the Times putting the Tories at 41%, with Labour on 28% and us on 19%, does not show any significant degree of difference from the previous poll picture. In other words the position of Labour continues to be dire. The behaviour of the Hewitt-Hoon Labour Suicide Action Team has hardly helped their own party to make the recovery they need to stand any chance of salvaging even a vaguely respectable result at the general election.
At 28%, Labour are on the same share as they won in 1983, their worst general election proportion since 1922. Even in 1931, when Labour dropped to only 50 seats, Labour's share of the vote was over 30%. In 1983, tactical voting barely registered as a factor. In the past three general elections, tactical voting has significantly reduced the number of Conservative seats and artifically boosted the number of Labour ones. The same could happen in the 2010 election, only in reverse for Labour. Gordon Brown's party could be heading for their worst ever result since the first world war.
This is of course speculation. There is a possibility of a rise in Labour support in the polls as people move away from a mid-term view of politics. Nevertheless, Labour are leaving it late in the day to get into winning form and at the moment I see no signs of the late surge coming.
Nevertheless, the Conservatives are yet to close the deal with the voters and the final general election result could leave them short of a majority. The final result is likely to hinge on what happens in individual constituencies. With a national swing less applicable than for decades, there remains all to play for in those constituencies where a change of control could take place. For those of us involved in campaigns in Labour held seats, such as our constituency here in Blaydon, Hewitt and Hoon have been a godsend. (I hear Hoon may now be in trouble with his local party in Ashfield and it waits to be seen whether or not that helps boost the Lib Dem candidate, Jason Zadrozny, in a constituency that has developed as a winnable one for us.)
So, at a time when Labour need to be recovering, their own suicide tendency have dented their own ratings. Whilst minor in its own right, it is a classic characteristic of a party that is losing the will to win.