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What to make of a 6% poll lead?

Stephan Shakespeare Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, gives his take on the latest polling.

Tonight both ICM and YouGov have the Conservative lead at 6%.

Whichever way you look at it, after what has been acknowledged as a relatively good week, that's not a great number for the Conservatives. Even if you put your faith in the marginal seats campaign, the best you can possibly hope for is a swing 2% higher in those constituencies that really count, and that could just possibly put you within finger-tip touch of a Conservative Majority.

It means that if Labour manage a decent few weeks, and the Conservatives make a few mistakes, we might really get a hung Parliament. From the Tory point of view, it's uncomfortably tight. One has started to hear the occasional suggestion that there should be a Plan B.

But no, forget about Plan B. There's a lot ahead: the reaction to today's launch of the Labour manifesto launch, the Conservative launch, and the first debate. (I think it's unlikely the debates will have much effect on the Conservative-Labour swing, as I've argued here, but it might just help the Lib Dems a bit and who knows how that could tweak the calculations).

We should not attempt to assess the situation right now. We must wait at least until the weekend to even consider any adjustment to the strategy. IF the average of the polls moves Labour's way then, one would have a reason at least to discuss it. Not now.

Stephan Shakespeare


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