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Fraser Nelson's article last week looks a little premature now. What this poll seems to confirm is that DC has raised our support to around 37% - not a great honeymoon but progress. We now need to move out of the "new leader, nicer party" messages towards a wider message around principles & outline policies.

I've always thought it will be the standings early next year that will count with the first fruits of the policy groups appearing and Gordon about to take over after his year of re-branding & "touring" the country. Though I doubt the Harris acolytes on this blog will wait that long before ordaining our new leadership a failure (they seem convinced after just 9 weeks or so).

BTW editor - good comments on BBC about Mr Harris's intervention.

Thank you, Ted.

Ted I think this is massive progress, not because a sustained 3% swing is huge but because it is unprecedented in the last 14 years.

"it is unprecedented in the last 14 years"

It's not unprecedented. But it's an encouraging poll. It also shows that it is *absolutely essential* that we should see the Lib Dems polling 20%+ of the vote.

Sean, I can't remember a time since Black wednesday that we've been in the high 30s for over two months, consistently across the polls. I think Wasp is correct.

wasp, Sean is right, its good progress but we need to look not only to sustain ourselves in upper 30's but to be running leads of 6-10% above Labour. It would help a lot if more Labs moved to Lib dems.

Next election is likely in 3 years so mid term of this Govt is next year. To be in with a chance of victory (or even largest party) we have to poll in the low 40s and look to LDs being in low 20s with Lab around or below 30 - when election comes and the tendency of voters to vote what they know happens our lead will be under pressure.

Michael, from June 2003 for the best part of a year (apart from a blip after the Brent East by-election) we were averaging 35% across the polls. 37% or so is better than that but not dramatically so.

So wasp was right in that it is unprecidented. I agree it isn't dramatic, but high 30s is much much better than mid 30s - also we've got to contrast it with Labour previously being in the high thirties and now in the mid thirties. So on share of the vote it's better and in comparative terms its bettr still.

I think we need to be looking beyond the uniform swing, and to be honest it is sloppy not to do so. Labour did so well in 2001 despite a slipping vote share because their vote held up better in the marginals. Even in 2005 this happened in some parts of the country (chiefly the north).

If we look like a party of government, then we will see a similar differential swing. For all we know Labour's 34% includes 2% put on in their core vote areas which is of little use to them whatsoever...

It's a good point Iain. has there been any recent polling in the marginals? I'd guess we are in the low 40s.

Polling in marginal seats is exceptionally difficult to get right.

Such polls of marginal seats as there were in the run up to May 5th tended to show the Conservatives doing slightly better there than uniform swing would suggest - and this was borne out by the result.

So the headline now is "Knives not out for Cameron"? It's so difficult to keep up.

If the polls are going to be volatile - and they probably will be until Brown takes over in name as well as deed - then it increases the value of having a likeable, presentable leader. You never know where you're going to be when the music stops.

O/T - I am going to meet Neil bloody Kinnock (technically my employer, although with several layers of management in between!) in under 2 hours time - any suggestions on how I should act on this glorious occasion?

My first thought was to 'accidentally' trip him up as he climbs the steps to the stage, but I don't want to jeopardise my career in that manner!

Well alright! Well alright!

DVA: Important people always like questions that give them the chance to sound off in public like they know something.

"My lord, what advice would you give to either me or Gordon Brown on how to manage successfully the transition from one job to another?"

"Neil, which aspect of New Labour makes you most proud for having beaten Militant in the 1980s?"

"What are you for?"

This is certainly encouraging. I don't think we can really expect to get above 40% until people know what we stand for. The Cameron image factor has been a success, now we need to see the Cameron policy factor.

DC is like the proverbial door-to-door salesman who managed to get his foot in the door with glib talk, has piqued the punter's interest but has yet to close the deal.
He (we) now needs to present a product that will sell. To that end the punters have yet to get out their cheque books.
It could still go titsup.

Relying on the Lib Dems to abstract votes from Labour strikes me as a very dangerous strategy. Especially so if, as seems likely, Chris Huhne wins and makes the party more economically liberal, sidelining the Hughesian sandal-wearing tendency. Given the economic strategy of the current leadership, economic liberals may be tempted to leave us for the lib dems, while centralists leave the lib dems for Labour. The result may well be a return to the polling figures of the recent past.

This is insane - for the first time in years the party has looked credible and is ahead in the polls.

And yet all you can hear is whinging. Only in England.

TC - I agree. Michael Howard and Liam Fox both stood at conference stating that people liked the policies but not the party. DC is spending time changing this perception for if the electorate start to like the party, then maybe they'll start to listen to it.

"TC - I agree. Michael Howard and Liam Fox both stood at conference stating that people liked the policies but not the party"

That's why Cameron dropped those popular policies. Makes sense.

Aren't you just for once John going to celebrate a favourable poll instead of using every thread to attack Cameron?

Some people are never happy. I am very pleased with the progress.


Huhne's manifesto has tied him into a high tax rather than economically liberal agenda - green taxes, supertax on high earners, limiting tax relief on pensions. Together with his pro-Euro stance I don't think its an attractive offer.

We need a healthy LD vote to split the opposition - I think (hope?) a Huhne party will attract from Labour rather than us making the electoral advantage shift away from Labour.

Indeed. We need a Lib Dem vote of 20% or so.

"Aren't you just for once John going to celebrate a favourable poll instead of using every thread to attack Cameron?"

For consistency's sake, would you therefore use a negative poll to attack Cameron?

Just wondering...

I didn't make any comment whatsoever about the poll.

That's true, John, you didn't comment on the poll - but Malcolm is also right in saying that it seems that you use every thread you comment in to attack David Cameron.

"Malcolm is also right in saying that it seems that you use every thread you comment in to attack David Cameron."

Your point?


I wouldn't for one minute consider the Lib Dems myself, but Huhne has promised no higher taxes overall and indeed a reduction of tax on the lower paid. He also calls for "less meddlesome interference from the Treasury," reduction of bureaucracy, subjecting regulation to independent review and sunset clauses on regulation. Those are the sort of economic liberal views that will be attractive to some who are concerned that the Cameron/Osborne approach is going to be a continuation of the Blairite status quo. As I say, that could be a problem unless there is some more repudiation of Blairite economic policy.

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