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That's more like it. Still early days though.

Good to see the 40% mark reached. Can definately understand the 52% yet to make up their minds.

chools?

40%!!! Great - the magic 40's neede to form a Government. But Norman Tebbit can't take all of the credit.

This is very good news indeed.Better by far than I would have expected before Dec 6th.

I think this is good news although not necessarily because of the 40%

If we are on 40% without 52% yet being convinced of DC, then I hope we'll get closer to the mid 40's by the time they have.

Excellent that we've hit 40% again. Good progress.

As for the approval rating figures, I've had a look at the underlying figures through that link, and they are very interesting, and even more encouraging than the headline figure given here suggests.

With such a high proportion of "don't know" (interestingly this was still the case for Blair and Howard who were comparatively better known when they became leader) the approval rating difference is pretty meaningless. However look at the underlying percentages:

Cameron 31-17
Howard 22-21
Duncan-Smith 22-14
Hague 21-24
(Blair 33-19)

The percentage of people viewing Cameron positively has increased by almost a third compared with any of his three predecessors, and compares reasonably well with Blair's figure - and Blair was a better-known figure at this stage in his leadership. Hugely promising poll.

Having spoken to a lot of veoters recently in a County Council by-election, one guy's comments illustrated how effectively Cameron's strategy is working.

This guy, in a North East village said, "No offence I won't be voting for you as the local candidate, but I will be voting Conservative. I've only ever voted Conservative once and that was for Maggie, but I like your new guy."

He was a Labour voter.

In the By-election we got a 5% swing from the Liberal Democrats.

We just need to get Labour down to 34/35% and then start advancing over 40%. For a Majority of 18 we need:
Con - 43%
Lab - 34%
Lib - 17%

This is great news and hopefully the beginning of a change in public consciousness of what the Conservative Party is about.

Compared to the last MORI poll on Electoral Calculus Labour are down one and we're up 1.

Allowing for error we are holding our ground and slowly making progress. If I were a LibDem MP I would be truly worried, they'd be down to 8 MPs on this poll; to those brave members of the LDs who understand that being liberal is about free trade, civil rights and an independent democratic nation state a warm welcome needs to be made in CamsCons. Nick Baker, David Laws Vince Cable etc COME ON OVER, you know it makes sense!!

I think that's a little pessimistic, Andrew, given the likely non-uniformity of any national swing.

First of all, Labour in 1997, 2001 and (to a lesser extent) 2005 did very well at securing a preferential differential swing. Hence in 2001 their vote dropped, but in the tightest of marginals they held their own. If the electorate judges a Party ready for government, and if our strategy on the ground is suitable, we too will be the beneficiaries of a differential swing back. Tactical voting (or lack thereof) will play a part too.

The second thing is the impact of the boundary changes - the new boundaries are fairer to us than in the past. There's been a lot of discussion about "party x gaining/losing y seats" due to the boundary changes, but the obvious seat-swapping in only the smaller part of the story. The effect of the boundary changes is largely much more subtle - and if there are a stack of marginal seats where the Labour notional majority is reduced by a couple of percentage points, it will make all the difference. We may even see the odd surprise seat suddenly come into play - I'm told one of the new Sunderland seats is vaguely promising.

"Nick Baker, David Laws Vince Cable etc COME ON OVER, you know it makes sense!!"

What? Not Mark Oaten? Whyever not?

I was interested to look at Electoral Calculus's prediction for Hereford - where DC made his 'come and join us' plea to Lib Dems.

____2005 2009?
LIB 43.26% 29.11%
CON 41.21% 50.00%
LAB 10.24% 15.27%

2005 - LIB Majority 962 2.05%

Next Election
Pred Maj 20.89% CON Gain

As a warning, dont put too much faith with the electoral calculators. With the boundary changes, nobody really knows how the votes will distribute into seats at the next election. On past form, the result will become even more bias for Labour.

MORI's findings are very similar to the recent ICM poll in the Grauniad. The same arguments made then apply again.

BTW, its Norman Baker, Kingbongo, and he will never join us!

What? Not Mark Oaten? Whyever not?

Because.... oh we all know why! Anyway Winchester's ours next time round whoever the LDs put up (and I doubt if it will be Oaten)

On past form, the result will become even more bias for Labour

Next time should be a little different but I do think the party accepts too much of the Labour agenda on this. The Isle of Wight should surely be two small seats, just like some of the depopulated Labour bastions of the North which seem to be little more than Rotten Boroughs with a nominal popuation of 60 thousand but only 30 thousand voters.

Also, perhaps if our policies clearly showed that the state is no friend of the working classes and merely ensures they stay in their rightful place at the bottom of the heap we might win in places like Durham and Sunderland.

BTW, its Norman Baker, Kingbongo, and he will never join us!

Ooops; The prospect of imminent long term unemployment can make people think very seriously about what they believe so I wouldn't rule it out - he might prefer to be a left-wing tory with a future in shaping government environment policy than a right-wing LD with Jobseekers Allowance.

40% - Interesting, though currently a one-off. When I see polls consistently showing us in the 40% bracket, then I will be pleased. Until then, we must all work harder.

"When I see polls consistently showing us in the 40% bracket, then I will be pleased."

Consider that we polled 41.99% in 1992, then I think these polls are good news (even though they are JUST polls)......

Brillant tactic to get Lord Tebbit to sound off about the changes in the media. Doubles the coverage and reinforces the 'change' message!
Hope he gets a front bench position in Cameron Govt!

As Sean Fear has pointed out what we really need is the opposition parties split more evenly - which is what Labour had in last election with us on 33 & Libs on 23.

If Labour dropped to 33 (from 36), Libs to 20 (from 23) and we went up to 40 (from 33) then we'd be at least the biggest party (and a Lib/Lab pact wouldn't have a majority) and with boundary changes and good targetting probably close to an absolute majority. Our job becomes harder the weaker the Libs are and so the stronger Labour becomes.

Still with boundary changes not yet reflected in electoral calculus this rating would probably mean a Labour Party with a small majority, if one at all, and no real mandate with less of the popular vote...and the Liberals wiped out in most of Southern England

"Brillant tactic to get Lord Tebbit to sound off about the changes in the media. "

Its the reason I am here!

If Tebbit, The Mail, The Telegraph, The Cornerstone Group hate it - then Cameron is doing his job......

Both the Mail and the Telegraph have been circumspect about Camerons speech.I would not want Cameron to fall out with these papers they have been good friends with us even in the (very) bad times.
I wonder what Norm thought he was going to achieve yesterday.His speech was poor ,way below his usual standard.It may suit Cameron to have Tebbit as an enemy but it would not I think be beneficial to Tebbit to needlessly make an enemy of Cameron.I hope if Norm has serious reservations about policy he makes his criticisms in private in future.These continual attacks do no one any good except our enemies.

"If Tebbit, The Mail, The Telegraph, The Cornerstone Group hate it - then Cameron is doing his job......"

Pretty perverse tactic if you don't mind my saying so. But fair enough, take this view. But don't complain about all the "in-fighting" that your own leader has consciously provoked!

It's a good poll, but it's still a result which effectively allows us and Labour to eliminate Lib Dems. In practice, depending on local swing, effectiveness of targetting, personal votes etc the Labour majority could be anywhere between 30-60.

"As Sean Fear has pointed out what we really need is the opposition parties split more evenly."

It would help if Simon Hughes became Liberal Democrat leader and began to leech votes from the left of the Labour Party. This would leave their strategists to have to make a decision before moving to the left to head off that particular threat (leaving the centre exposed to Cameron's Conservatives™) or resolutely clinging to the centre ground (and praying that Hughes's neo-socialist Liberal Democrats don't snaffle up too many of the left-wing votes).

"These continual attacks do no one any good except our enemies”.

Cameron attacking Tebbit / Telegraph to me is like Blair attacking the Unions and the far left. He is attacking the cause of why many people could not vote CON in the past. The more he distances himself from them, the more he will win over the centre ground in my eyes.

Where will the Telegraph/Mail go to? They will always back a Conservative Party at a General Election as sure as the Mirror backing Labour. You could write the Editorial Endorsements for the three papers now....


DVA it was me who suggested on an earlier thread our new name was Cameron's Conservatives - no trying to trademark what I decided to put in the public domain! Though I think I might have got it from a certain campaign website.....

Huhne seems to be heading off in a leftward direction so with Ming also trying to put himself there perhaps we will see a new Socialist Liberal party fighting the Scots Nats, Labour and Respect for a decreasing share of the vote....

Well you're wrong Andrew.No paper will give a blank cheque to a political party particularly if it feels there will be a commercial impact in backing someone it doesn't believe its readers will support.Even the Mirror which became the New Labour version of Pravda when Alistair Campbell was political editor attacked Blair relentlessly over Iraq and backed Steven Norris in the Mayoral campaign.
We need friends in the media not enemies.

"DVA it was me who suggested on an earlier thread our new name was Cameron's Conservatives - no trying to trademark what I decided to put in the public domain! Though I think I might have got it from a certain campaign website..."

I'm not trying to trademark it. It's just a small nod towards what some might perceive to be the rebranding of our party as some sort of personality cult.

"Huhne seems to be heading off in a leftward direction so with Ming also trying to put himself there perhaps we will see a new Socialist Liberal party fighting the Scots Nats, Labour and Respect for a decreasing share of the vote..."

The trouble is Huhne doesn't come across as a left-winger and would probably play well with the largely apolitical middle-ground.

If Campbell became leader, it would be interesting to see what effect (if any) being known as the man who brought down Kennedy would have on the voters.

With regards Respect, George Galloway said last week that he has fought his last election, and I would wager that, much like Veritas sans Robert Kilroy-Silk, they will wither and die without their figurehead.

I’m being naive I am sure, but apart from the Murdoch Press (who will just back the winner), what other national paper over the past 20 years has actually changed who they back at a General Election.

"Cameron attacking Tebbit / Telegraph to me is like Blair attacking the Unions and the far left. He is attacking the cause of why many people could not vote CON in the past. "

I think this is rubbish. The public prefered Tebbit's honesty to the usual smarmy career politicians.

Michael Portillo is far far far more loathed by the public than Tebbit ever was or is.

If you compare this poll to the MORI one from 18 December it looks as though the Lib Dems are leeching support to Labour. There is every chance an openly left-wing LD leader (Huhne or Hughes) will win support back from left-wing voters and leave the Labour party back on their core vote of 30-33%. I would think we should all hope and pray (if that's your thing) for a Hughes vctory.

Ming the clueless won't present much of an opposition to Conservative policy but will be more likely to resist some of the more crazy notions of the LD grassroots. A Hughes or even Huhne victory leaves the sensible part of the policy debate in the hands of Cameron and Co

Three MORI polls have put us on 39-40% so it looks more like a trend than a blip, especially as MORI Labour bias is second only to Populus.

"I’m being naive I am sure, but apart from the Murdoch Press (who will just back the winner), what other national paper over the past 20 years has actually changed who they back at a General Election."

The Daily Express switched to Labour in 2001, before switching back to the Conservatives for 2005.


MORI aren't necessarily biased to Labour. The point is their polls fluctuate very wildly (we went from 10% behind in November to 9% ahead in December - no other pollster showed any similar shift in opinion).

I agree that to compare Tebbit to the trade unions is silly. The trade unions (in the seventies) did real damage to Britain; Tebbit, through his trade union reforms, did real good.

"The Daily Express switched to Labour in 2001, before switching back to the Conservatives for 2005."

Thanks DVA. How about the FT?

"I’m being naive I am sure, but apart from the Murdoch Press (who will just back the winner), what other national paper over the past 20 years has actually changed who they back at a General Election."

Well, of the Murdoch press, The Sunday Times declared for the Conservatives at the last election.

Where will the Telegraph/Mail go to? They will always back a Conservative Party at a General Election as sure as the Mirror backing Labour. You could write the Editorial Endorsements for the three papers now....

They were critical of the government, but were unenthusiastic cheerleaders for Howard's Conservatives. If the papers don't see something they like, they can be lukewarm about "their" party.

It's the steady support of a paper on day to day issues, rather than an election declaration, that really swings its readers. We've not really had that with any paper for a while.

Other papers who have changed sides include the Standard and the FT.The Telegraph under Hastings became very critical of Mrs T 1989-90,the Mail was extremely critical of Major during the Maastricht madness are some examples.
John Hustings,an any evidence for your assertion about Portillo and Tebbit?


*That's* what was so useful about the Sun in the past, James - its constant rubbishing of Labour, not its endorsement.

"John Hustings,an any evidence for your assertion about Portillo and Tebbit?"

Well, do you have any evidence that Tebbit is *un*popular with the public? I doubt you'll find it. And I think you'll find that probably the most popular Tory MP around at the moment is the extremely right-wing Anne Widdecombe.

People respect both of them for their straightforwardness.

As for Portillo, the response to him losing his seat in '97 says it. The man even admits to being unpopular!

"most popular Tory MP around at the moment is the extremely right-wing Anne Widdecombe. "

is Anne Widdecombe really extremely right-wing?

The Telegraph, particularly under Charles Moore's editorship, has done immense damage to the Conservative party over recent years. It's 'advice' has generally been slavishly followed with inevitable disaster. If Cameron is taking on the right then more power to his elbow.

"is Anne Widdecombe really extremely right-wing? "

I can't recall disagreeing with her about anything (except thinking Ken Clarke should be leader).

So yup.

If the Barclay Brothers see Cameron as a winner then like Murdoch they are likely to swing behind him (after all they have interests to protect - Osborne could cast his eyes over offshore trusts....). The Mail is more of a problem as Rothermere is still NuLab isn't he and the Sir David English coterie are aging. The hope there is that we seem to be getting back more female voters and that's an important market for the Mail.

If Labour continues its authoritarian line and we position ourselves as the protectors of individual liberty I think we might get, not support, but more friendly attention from the Guardian & Indy.

What we should have done of course was include Murdoch's advisor Irwin in our economic competitiveness group

Surely Boris Johnson is the most popular Tory MP?

No I don't have any evidence about Tebbit John,do you? Or about Widdecombe or Portillo?

its probably the great Widdyweb thats behind her popularity
http://www.annwiddecombemp.com/


There was a poll (by ICM I think) after the 2001 election, giving voting intentions under different party leaders.

The Conservatives scored best if led by Kenneth Clarke or Anne Widdecombe. They scored worst if led by Michael Portillo.

Even on a dreadful night, the swing against Michael Portillo was above the average in London, and our second or third worst performance in the Capital.

*That's* what was so useful about the Sun in the past, James - its constant rubbishing of Labour, not its endorsement.

And that's what really wrote Hague off: being constantly rubbished by The Sun.

Its galling to realise the public recognised what a waste Portillo really was when I was still supporting him against Ken C...perhaps there is wisdom in the masses after all.

I don't know where you get the idea that Rothermere is Labour Ted.The man that matters at Associated is Paul Dacre and he is as Conservative as they come. The Mail beats up Labour every day so more power to their elbows!

They scored worst if led by Michael Portillo.

If I remember that poll correctly, support actually went down under Portillo.

Here's MORI's poll on the 2001 leadership election - and Widdecombe produced the largest swing in voting intention towards the Conservatives...

Which proves my point. There is no evidence that the likes of Maude, May, Portillo et al are far more popular with the public than all those ghastly right-wingers. The public doesn't have this perception of left and right that we do.

Cameron is popular, but not because of his politics.

Really John?Where's your evidence?

"Really John?Where's your evidence?"

I don't know what you're asking me Malcolm.

"The public doesn't have this perception of left and right that we do."

Well, then evidence for this lies in the YouGov conference polls, where despite pursuing a moderate agenda, Michael Howard was perceived as a right wing extremist (a whole 30 points to the right of his party). I think that shows it was how he was seen personally, rather than his policy agenda, that shaped public opinion.

I suspect the same is true of Cameron, and our gains are attributable to not being led by someone who's thought to be a dangerous extremist.

For you assertion that 'Cameron is popular but not because of his politics',or for that matter that Tebbit is more popular with voters than Portillo

Sorry Malcolm it was the last Rothermere that joined New Labour. I know Dacre is the man but he's not always been our best supporter (seems much more a Bush fan than a Cameron one). Concerned he might put the Mail outside the Cameron tent - though with Heffer gone perhaps there will be a re-approachment.

"For you assertion that 'Cameron is popular but not because of his politics',or for that matter that Tebbit is more popular with voters than Portillo"

Well, we have seen enough evidence that Portillo is unpopular (the manner he lost his seat; opinion polls), I don't see any evidence that Tebbit is, except maybe with a select band of BBC liberoids.

I think if you're going to pursue this strategy of "set Cameron up vs. the bad guys in the party", the burden of proof is on *you* to demonstrate that it's the right-wingers that the public *see* as the bad guys.

But I don't think you can do that, because they aren't.

Ted,Dacre hates Bush.Mail has been a very constant critic of the Iraq war!

Oh, and in answer to your second part, that's easy.

The public doesn't have the first clue what Cameron's politics are.

"Concerned he might put the Mail outside the Cameron tent - though with Heffer gone perhaps there will be a re-approachment."

Aren't the Mail replacing Heffer with Richard Littlejohn? Can't see him liking Cameron!


I think the electoral evidence suggests that there are both right and left wing Conservatives who are popular with the public, and others who are unpopular.

I think the FT has backed Labour from 1992 onwards. I'm not sure what its stance was in the 1980s.

"I think the electoral evidence suggests that there are both right and left wing Conservatives who are popular with the public, and others who are unpopular."

I agree, I would suggest that John Redwood is an example of an unpopular right-winger, and Portillo an example of an unpopular left-winger.

"Michael Howard was perceived as a right wing extremist"

james, they also remembered the sleaze of the major years and the fact that micheal howard was part of that government,even if he had nothing to do with the sleaze.

"I think the electoral evidence suggests that there are both right and left wing Conservatives who are popular with the public, and others who are unpopular."


i agree.

This is good news, Cameron needs to really pump up his satisfaction ratings though, only then can the party actually follow.

Slightly off topic but I understand that Tory MPs are only subject to a two line whip on today's religious hatred vote. If this is the case (perhaps somebody here knows), then I am somewhat surprised given this government appears determined to continue destroying our civil liberties.

"Cameron needs to really pump up his satisfaction ratings though"

he will, we just have to give him time.

"I understand that Tory MPs are only subject to a two line whip on today's religious hatred vote. "

i sure hope not. this is a vital vote.

Excellent and well deserved news and thanks totally to Camerons stance and approach. David, do not divert one iota whatever Lord Tebbit says. Time and agin voters are telling me that they want us to be less shrill and reactionary and more in the centre ground. We have lost mant younger professional voters and women voters and they in particular will come back to us with the sorts of messages we are getting from Cameron. As for Liberals I actually think they are correct to head to the left otherwise they will go under. They don't look credible when pretending to be on the right and with Cameron they will not attract any support on the centre-right anyway. Other than that I can't see them heading so right that Lord Tebbit would join them. Hence to survive they will have to head left of Labour.

Jaz said: "Cameron needs to really pump up his satisfaction ratings though."

Poor Samantha.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist!)

So you don't really have any evidence for your assertions John.Thought not.

Not to dampen spirits though, the underlying voting trend is still a problem:

http://www.mori.com/polls/trends/voting-all.shtml

Labour is ahead "all naming a party"

So thats a good news poll. Camp Cameron will be happy campers today.

If we can keep that polling level until the council elections, Labour will be worried.

It would have been good to see how Brown would have effected the results above.

I see Tory MEPs are being told that the Party will be pulling out of the EPP whether they like it or not. Check out the BBC website. William Hague breaking the news.

"I see Tory MEPs are being told that the Party will be pulling out of the EPP whether they like it or not. Check out the BBC website. William Hague breaking the news."

Excellent. I completely despise the arrogant attitude of the pro-Euro Tory MEP's who refuse to represent the view of the Eurosceptic electorate that voted for them.

Agreed, If an elected represents stands on a manifesto then he should be prepared to stick to it.

Great news.

Government defeated in the Commons TWICE on Religious Hatred Bill. One small victory against this authoritarian government.

Good news on both counts.The arrogance of Edward Mcmillan-Scott on Newsnight last night was outrageous.How we ever let people like that become MEPs in our party is beyond me.These people have been elected by the 'list 'system and are therefore are entirely beholden to the party.They either toe the line or leave.

"The arrogance of Edward Mcmillan-Scott on Newsnight last night was outrageous.How we ever let people like that become MEPs in our party is beyond me."

May it please the court to present exhibit A - Michael Portillo?

Maybe Im wrong but doesnt it mean the religious hatred laws have been passed twice by the Commons and refused by the Lords...if thats true, no matter what, its law...Either the Lords back the law or the Parliament Act is whipped out. If Im wrong, please correct me as I cant remember exactly what the state of play is here.

I see that they lost the second vote by 1 and T Blair didn't vote. That's one sigh of relief, only about another 700 laws to repeal or defeat and British citizens will get some of their liberties back. Now the Labour rebels are starting to get the bug our glorous leader and his grumpy sidekick can expect a lot more of the same. This MORI poll could therefore be the start of something very exciting

As for MacMillan-Scott, words fail me. He has signed up to the Labour spin machine agenda of claiming geting out of the EPP means sitting with loony fascists and ultra-catholic weirdos. Why William Hague is tying to coax these people round I have no idea.

Can't these people just be kicked out? They certainly don't have the interests of the Conservative Party or the UK at heart and removing may win us some soft UKIP voters and certainly not cost us any.

Not entirely sure I understand you Daniel.What do you mean?

James M

The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill has not been blocked. The Lords ammended it and the Commons accepted those ammendments so the bill will now pass into law.

OK, cheers Richard.

"Not entirely sure I understand you Daniel.What do you mean?"

Your point about arrogant parliamentary representatives.

the bill will now pass into law.
I don't think the governemnt could have used the Parliament Act on this one as it was introduced in the Lords. I may be worng but this is probably why no dire threats about the collapse of civillisation were made by Charles Clarke prior to the votes.

I hope the two line whip was a mistake (if true). Surely this is the sort of law that all Conservatives oppose from the core of their being and a three line whip sends that message out?


I should also add that the Parliament Act would never have come into play. It can only be invoked if the Lords block an identical bill (inisist on ammendments that the Commons will not agree to) in two consecutve sessions. Before this session the government had never introduced such a bill. It had twice sought to introduce religious hatred laws as a part of larger Home Office bills but on both occasions had been forced to drop the relevant clauses in order to avoid losing the entire bill.

Richard, it's good to know there's at least one person who understands the machinations of the Parliament Act!

I may be worng but this is probably why no dire threats about the collapse of civillisation were made by Charles Clarke prior to the votes.

There were no dire threats because the government did not think they were in danger of losing the vote. Had the government sensed any danger Charles Clarke would spoke in the debate rather than leaving it to Paul Goggins (a junior minister). It did however become clear during the debate that the government had lost the arguement. Domonic Grieve disected the governments case in his usual forensic manor while backbenchers from all sides provided powerful arguements against the bill. Anne Widdicombe was on particularly good form.

I just found this nugget about EU reform. Apologies if it's old hat, but I thought it made interesting reading.


Richard, the FT backed Labour as long ago as 1987.

"Had the government sensed any danger Charles Clarke would spoke in the debate rather than leaving it to Paul Goggins (a junior minister). "

doesnt this show that the government doesnt really believe in the bill anyway?

The relevant MORI poll is the one 'Which party are you most inclined to support?' there it is Labour 43
Con 35
Lib Dem 17


So, marginally beter for Cameron perhaps, but this would translate in a huge mandate for a fourth term Labour government.

And despite all the hype that is the reality at the moment.

"Richard, the FT backed Labour as long ago as 1987."

I thought that was the case but I couldn't remember the source I'd heard it from and it seemed unlikely. Was the FT socialist back then?

doesnt this show that the government doesnt really believe in the bill anyway?

Not at all. It is perfectly normal for junior ministers to make the case during all or part of a government bill.

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