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CCHQ says Labour will be easier to fight once a successor to Brown has been chosen

By Tim Montgomerie

In the last 24 hours we have had three opinion polls:

  • Ipsos MORI: Conservatives 40%, Labour 38%, Liberal Democrats 14%
  • ICM/ Guardian: Conservatives 38%, Labour 34%, Liberal Democrats 19%
  • YouGov/ Sun: Conservatives 42%, Labour 35%, Liberal Democrats 15%
I offer three observations on these numbers:
  • The Conservatives have enjoyed a honeymoon bounce from entering government but it is small. A maximum net approval rating for the government of +21% at its peak (+48% minus +27% according to YouGov) was down to just +3% yesterday (40% minus 37%).
  • Labour remain competitive before the cuts bite and without a leader. Getting a leader who becomes a target of the Tory and media machine may be a mixed blessing for Labour, however. A senior campaigner at CCHQ was telling me yesterday that all of the Labour leadership candidates have significant weaknesses that he is looking forward to probing. The initial plan is to contrast Cameron and Clegg as strong leaders, taking the tough decisions, with a Labour leader who ducks the tough choices. My source tells me that Labour's multiple hustings have provided a goldmine of attack strategies for each of the leading candidates and the ammunition is being safely stored for when it is needed.
  • The Liberal Democrats have lost a good chunk of their voters. The kind of electoral deal proposed yesterday by Mark Field (with Tories and Liberals' signing a non-aggression pact in Lib/Con marginals) might be essential for their survival as a parliamentary force if we are seeing the Liberal Democrats lose the left-leaning chunk of their previous supporters. As blogged this morning, Vince Cable (whose latest act of rebellion is to query the Coalition Agreement's immigration cap) wants more concessions for his party in time for the party conference season as a way of bolstering the LibDems' position.


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