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Not surprised. The Tories have seemed a bit all over the place in recent weeks.

Not enough of a lead to force Brown's hand into calling an election.

We certainly have,we need to pull together or lose badly.A good conference is a pre requisite.

I've always maintained it is the economy that will sink Brown. Recent events over Northern Rock with shake confidence. Gordon Brown has crowned himself king of the economic castle, lets see how his pretentious reputation stands up as he tries to weather the knock-on effects of the sub-prime crisis. It will be interestig to see how he fares at the Labour conference, will he face protests over pay? Will there be ejections?

An election cant happen now, with the Unions tetchy and with no real Brown policies/acheivements to campaign on, he would still be campaigning on Blairs acheivements. He wants to campaign as himself, not as the past. The Lib Dem talk of 25 October is bunkum to keep the activists on edge.

The polls have a statistical margin of error of +/- 3%. This is poll is therefore consistent with other recent polls such as Yougov.

The Conservatives have a core vote of of around a third of the electorate. The 5% to 7% that Cameron generated in his first 18 months disappeared quickly. Brown has won back a large proportion of the Labour voters who backed the Lib Dems in 2005 to protest at the Iraq War. Some of those may have backed Cameron, due to Ming's dire performance, but swung back to Labour after Brown replaced Blair.

There is bad news around the corner for Brown. The Northern Rock crisis will dent economic confidence. A credit squeeze is hitting the housing market already and the high street will feel the consequences at Christmas and into the New Year. It is likely that a desperate Bush will attack Iran within the next few months and seek Brown's support.

Brown should go to the country now whilst the opposition is still relatively weak.

3% ahead is nothing.

1. It's within the statistical sampling error for a start.

2. The Unions are about to kick off, never makes for good Labour press. Labour can't go too far, the Unions will be donating the cash for the next election. Cameron and Co. could slaughter the government here.

3. Conference season. Labour have nothing in the way of new policy and thanks to near blanket coverage of Tory policy ideas; Gordon can't go a-thieving, Labour's conference is last.

4. It's the economy, stupid. A slowdown can be squarely blamed on Gordon & Darling. That's enough to knock down house price growth, end the feel-good factor and an increase in unemployment will make Brown look weak.

5. Tory conference. What better platform to crystallise ideas to policy? Plenty of coverage to show the country that they are ready for government.

What would keep the unions onside - an election and with the winter of discontent etched into his soul the temptation to not repeat callaghan's mistake must be overwhelming. If the economy is going to go South (and he should know) then the best time for an election is before it does not after. All governments figures perk up during an election campaign.

Gordon will close the Labour conference with the vision thing announcing some eye catching initiatives, talk about DC wanting to raise taxes and being hopelessly inexperienced and close by saying... "and for these reasons I am now returning to London to ask Her Majesty etc."
Conferences are worth 3% on polling and ours would probably have to be cancelled under election rules even if we didn't cancel it to send the activist base home.

This poll isn't exactly shocking, seeing as the Conservatives still haven't learnt to keep their mouth shut in public when it comes to criticising Cameron.

The environmental policy debacle (thanks John and Zak) was a freebie for Labour as well.

Jonathan made excellent points that complement those in my earlier post.

Brown is likely to place greater weight on polls conducted by Yougov, MORI and ICM than Com Res. If he can maintain a consistent lead of around 4 to 7% up to the Labour conference, he would be crazy not to call an early election.

Any one who writes off the possibility of an early election, is being very complacent. If there are difficult economic times ahead, Brown could go to the country calling for a mandate,(in effect a vote of confidence) in his ability to tackle those conditions. Would the country reject him for Cameron?

Nobody calls an election in times of economic turbulence, unless they have no option, or unless they've just replaced an outgoing government (as in 1931).

Once again, the 'others' level is at 14%. It is highly unlikely this would be achieved at a GE - last time it was about 9%. The problem for Labour tacticians analysing their chances in an early election, is two-fold. One, are the LDs really as weak as the polls suggest - if not where would they take their extra votes? Two, where will the 'others' respondents jump in a real election? Getting those calculations wrong can make the difference between a sizeable Labour majority and a Tory victory. Flash Gordon ain't that much of a gambler, methinks.

An election cant happen now, with the Unions tetchy and with no real Brown policies/acheivements to campaign on, he would still be campaigning on Blairs acheivements.
Gordon Brown was if anything more responsible for Labour's domestic policy than Tony Blair, thus there is substantial continuity, not surprising.

If there was a General Election there would be a muttering it was too soon mostly, but then Labour activists and the Unions would stop muttering and get on with campaigning, however I think that many in the General Public would feel that Gordon Brown must be cutting and running and as a result there would be a big risk for Labour of losing it's majority, I think a General Election in the Autumn or next year would be possibly the best opportunity for the opposition parties. Gordon Brown having ruled out that Tony Blair's pledge to serve a full term mean't an election soon after his replacing Tony Blair and the fact that Labour still has a 60+ majority means that he cannot use the excuse of an early election being to secure a mandate that for example Jim Callaghan would have had the option of using in 1976.

It is a very plausible scenario that we'll have a repeat of the 1970 general election, when Heath beat Wilson despite the Tories being 12% behind in the polls.
Labour's poll lead came about because Brown became only the 4th PM since 1979.
The announcement of an election could put the Tories back in the lead, especially if there is a threat of economic turndown (which is exactly what happened in 1970).

Most agree an economic turn down is now in progress. While that does not please me (I, and many others who have worked damn hard and progressed, DESPITE Brown, stand to lose a great deal), the silver lining is that it will consign this crap government to the waste dump of history. Rejoice, rejoice!!

I can see why Mr.Greenspan admires Gordon Brown.During his stewardship of the American economy he built an expanding economy on dept.Mr.Brown has done the same to the UK.As for Mr bush being profligate with public money that maybe.When he gets the chance he should buy the Guardian and read the jobs column.Bush would then look like a savings bank.Countries with the depts of the UK and America living on borrowed money.With falling manufacturing will go backwards.India and China with massive strides in manufacturing are on the move.

It's time to put any questions of David Cameron's aptitude to lead the Conservative Party to bed. The most significant reason to do this is to avoid wrecking our chances of winning the next election. In-fighting is precisely what Gordon Brown wishes to see from the Conservatives. I'm positive that any hint of an leadership election would see Brown declaring a general election while the Conservative membership is polarised.

One of the main criticisms aimed a David Cameron is that he does not appeal to the common man. Well let's dissolve this myth once and for all: I'm the common man, I'm a life long Labour supporter from Barnsley S.Yorks. I'm working class and was raised by a single parent. I'm in my thirties, I'm married with three kids and I'm an home owner. I earn around about the average wage - a little more with overtime. But I don't see a toff when David Cameron speaks at the dispatch box, I see a man with a professional air and a vehement desire to see this country back on the right track.

The polls have already shown us before Brown's bounce, that Cameron is capable of gaining the required public support to win an election. Once more the polls are turning in that direction and we must continue, united in our cause to get Labour out of power. That should be our main aim. Forget any problems you may have with parts of the policy, we all can't agree on every little detail. What we can agree on is that this country would be better served by a conservative government. Let's be sure on this one point: we agree more with David Cameron's policy than we agree with Gordon Brown's.

We can debate the finer points of our policy once we have been elected, now is not the time.

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