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But this pol shows no Lab/Con change since the last one (when was that?) with LibDems up 2% so whatever the previous position was no change is now being recorded.

As you have pointed out, Brown is back, and I see the Telegraph is suggesting that 'Cameron may be facing an autumn of party discontent'.

His best strategy now will be to take the wise advice offered by Michael Ancram.

I'll be writing a ToryDiary on Michael Ancram's remarks for about 9am. Please - as much as everyone can - focus on the poll on this thread.

I find this very very hard to believe. Brown is purring along having left the Roons in the ditch during the floods.

There isn't even a contest at the moment - what Tory idea has caught on? Where is "Labour isn't working" or "Tough on crime, tough on..etc"

On one hand there is this move to tax pollution instead of income, on the other, some slightly dishonest posturing on immigration control. A toxic brew that will not be turning the public on - so what is this poll all about? Tell me I'm wrong.

OK so when was the last poll for The Times that this one relates to?

For those that had actually read the article, the previous poll it referred to was the one last week done privately for the Conservatives.

"No change is being recorded" erm, no change from a good poll last week?

I'm sorry to say that Ancram's beliefs have largely died off with his political career. Any reasonable political party can never be so backward looking and reactionary.

And for him criticise Cameron for not being eurosceptic enough is just mad, he is our most eurosceptic leader yet.

Ah yes, this poll I'm meant to be talking about. It's quite positive and hope that we can continue to make gains but I agree with the editorial caution. At least we know that Brown isn't indestructible!

Try reading the Times article - Labour down 2%, Conservatives up 3% (on five weeks ago).

Michael Ancram - moron!

With Brown still deciding to call an autumn election [though looking less likely by the day now] and David Cameron and the party rebounding in the polls, how comes Michael Ancram thinks its a really bright idea to try and screw it up? - great work!

Henry Mayhew

"Brown is purring along having left the Roons in the ditch during the floods."

That was week ago! The much used phrase "a week is a long time in politics" must be at least slightly familiar?

Since the debacle of the summer, where the “BB” seemed to catch the party leadership totally unawares and combined with the indiscipline and irresponsibility shown by some individuals within the party (), as well as the sycophancy of the media to hand Labour a golden honeymoon start, things have changed dramatically.

Cameron and the Party have not been out of the news, the return of policy reviews with eye catching proposals that have frequently chimed with the popular reaction to events beyond politics has coincided with Brown slinking from view and Labour struggling to find anything relevant to say.

Not only this populus poll, but YouGov, ICM and ComRes have all shown over the last week or so the gap between the parties narrowing dramatically, what ever way you spin that is the current trend… weather it is maintained is entirely down to how factors such as Brown’s recent re-emergence, the other policy review and the party conference season go. It will also be critical for Cameron to rebuild the strong personal ratings he enjoyed six months ago, if he succeeds in doing that then we will be a lot closer to winning the next election.

The party has seized back the initiative over the last few weeks, and I’m unconvinced that Brown will succeed in resting it back with talk of “citizens juries”, “speakers conferences” and “advisory bodies”… now is the time press on, the polls could well fluctuate over the conference season and in response to Brown’s re-emergence but as things the momentum is with the Conservatives, its all a question of using it.

Hope springs eternal.

Cameron was a novelty. Now he isn't, and if Brown's 'bounce' has now lost its momentum Cameron's went into reverse a long time ago.

The favourable move in the polls has been caused by Cameron's so-called 'lurch to the right' (a 'narrative' accepted by a large number of those polled the Times reports) and by a new focus on crime and other traditional areas of concern.

Can he keep it up? We shall have to see.

Gordon Brown is diminishing. To lose a nine point lead in just over a week shows that his lead and the public's perception of him is fragile. Now its important that the Conservative party not only stay in the news but make the news. Gordon Brown being prime minister has publicity at his beckon call, so its important for Mr Cameron to keep his profile up. The one thing these polls show us is that 'presence' is very thing in politics. So its vital to stay in the public eye.

The minus 6.4% number for the LibDems in the top marginals should worry Ming.

The "secret weapon" of the Conservative Party used to be discipline. I hope it rediscovers it sometime soon.

David Cameron has shown great resilience and energy in bouncing back. I'm sure he has the personal qualities to take on the Prime Minister and get the party back in government.

However there is no doubt that the presence of self-regarding Tory MPs who are prepared to be tickled like trout by Gordon Brown is no help at all.

Alternatively, Lord Ashcroft aside, though he may have played some role, the marginal seat polling vindicates Cameron's strategy of appealing to the centre ground in order to attract LibDem voters in marginal seats, previously hostile to the "contaminated brand", such that national swing aside and consolidation of the Labour vote aside,we topple Labour in the seats we need for overall victory.

Cameron and his sidekick Goldsmith will probably go and ruin the progress made now with proposals of punitive green taxes.

I'm not very excited by this poll.

It is the 120 most marginal seats held by ALL parties - and let us not forget, we already hold a lot of these as Conservative marginal seats.

The "gap" between Labour/Conservative (which is all that matters) is almost identical to 2005 - 3.7% versus 3.9% - and the only real change is that the Lib Dems have dropped.

I wouldn't expect anything more than a handful of gains out of this. We might even lose some seats like Reading East and St. Albans.

Still, better than a kick in the teeth!

I agree with most of the posts above. The opinion polls are indeed all over the place. The public are not yet likely to give Brown a sustained thumbs-up, there is still chance for Cameron to cement a small but significant lead in the polls by the end of the year. These polls will mean Brown does not call an election this year. He just can't risk it. Even if he has a 3% lead before the campaign begins, i'd bet anyone that this evaporates as an election campaign moves forward and people see more of Brown and Cameron on their TV screens. Add to this the encouraging regional figures in the party's internal poll, and the marginal figures in this poll, and Brown would be suicidal to go now. He's screwed.

"The minus 6.4% number for the LibDems in the top marginals should worry Ming."

Alan S, yes, interesting to see that Charlie Kennedy is trying to rehabiliate himself. Interesting also to see the way that Paddy was clearly upstaging Ming down in Southall. Doesn't lokk good for Ming. Although I give him 10/10 for his "Trapdoor" remark.

Peter Hatchet "The "gap" between Labour/Conservative (which is all that matters).."

Not quite. 1 in 3 of our top 15 targets are LD, 10 of top 40 and 20% of the top 100.

That is why Lib Dems spend so much effort attacking us rather than the Govt.

This poll should have cheered us all up but given the self inflicted wounds the party seems insistent on inflicting on itself I wonder how much longer even these numbers will last?


Due to the boundary changes alone lopping 24 of Brown's majority, I doubt Brown will go unless he can sustain a 3-5% lead for a month.

Calling one now would work for the electorate but with the polling heading south for Labour and heading into winter, that's always an unpopular time for the incumbent to call.

With a wobbly economy, public sector pay ceilings coming to the fore, the defeat in Iraq, deteroriating relations with the US and an EU referenda issue with a mutinuous backbench, all of this will turn the fire on Brown.

Cameron needs to maintain at least parity for another six to eight weeks. Then Brown will have no option but to wait until April/May.

With Ashcroft quietly working away at the marginals, that's the secret weapon and more of it will reap 50+ seats.

That's enough for power.

The latest poll from Populus may be out today - but only the headline figures so far. (nb the link given in The Times only leads to the previous poll!)

The best way of looking at this limited information is to show the last four Populus polls ( 1/6 (approx) -- 2/7-- 27/7 -- 31/8-2/9) to see trends in the headline figures

Consrvt 36 -- 34 -- 33 -- 36

Labour. 33 -- 37 -- 39 -- 37

LibDem 17 -- 18 -- 15 -- 18

Other . 14 -- 11 -- 13 --- 9

1. The pollsters say that "The three-point rise in the LibDem poll rating to 18 per cent partly reflects a change in the way the question was asked" (no questionnaire available yet)
2. Without the full figures of "Won't votes", Will vote but refused to say for whom, and Don't knows we have no means of telling yet whether opinion is hardening or becoming more fluid

With Ashcroft quietly working away at the marginals, that's the secret weapon and more of it will reap 50+ seats.

That's enough for power.
The Conservative Party could win 50 more seats and Labour's majority be hardly reduced at all, and even if Labour were to be unable to form a government, the Conservative Party would find it hugely difficult to form a government with only 248 seats, the only similar situation is when Labour in 1924 had a government with only 191 seats and that was only kept going while the Conservatives and Liberals decided that Labour might as well form the government as they couldn't. Labour's minority governments of 1929-31, 1974 & 1977-79 were based on far more seats than that along with Liberal support.

A 100 seat gain by the Conservative Party, if they could get support from Unionist MPs should be enough to form a minority government.

heading into winter, that's always an unpopular time for the incumbent to call
With increased use of postal voting I think this is now diminishing as a factor. It might be simply that far more people would apply for postal votes than before.

Good points, EML. I'd also add the likelihood that Labour will take some months to fully recover in Scotland.

All of this is not helped, of course, by the Suicide Squad within our own party. They could yet do Brown's work for him.

Lest we forget: We need a significant poll lead over Labour to actually gain Government. We had it, we lost it and whilst we've regained some ground we are still a long way short.

Politics for real is restarting and with it a continuing need for the Conservative leadership to demonstrate statesmanship.

Wildly swinging polls indicate uncertainty with the options and the superficiality of differences between the main parties.

We can still win, but assuming things will naturally carry on swinging back our way would be a big, big misjudgement.

The Populus/Times finding on the 120 top marginal seats confirms my analysis that Brown is gathering up votes where he doesn’t need them. Meanwhile, the Tories are moving ahead in the older age groups and in the south and midlands. The shift in the Cameron strategy is working admirably, so the next few opinion polls should see the Conservatives adding some more points overall, while Labour slips further.

Meanwhile, I'll just go back to reading Grossmith's 'Diary of a Nobody' :-)

All that this Poll proves, yet agin, is that you can't trust polls and that trying to run a political party purely on those self same untrustworthy polls is a mugs game.

If you go on the Populus website you can see the ratings of each leader.

Brown's have remained static in the months since he became PM. Cameron's took a slump in July but bounced upwards again through August.

Could this be Comeback Cameron?!

He has a large capacity to learn by his mistakes and is rolling with the punches.

If and when the three week election campaign begins, his superior communication skills and better attitude will come into their own.

It's not all over yet.

Let's not get too excited about this yet.

I ran the Populus figures on the 120 most marginal constituencies on the mainland and came up with the following figures:

Con : 58 (+14)
Lab : 56 (+1)
SNP : 3
PC : 2 (+2)
Res : 1
LDm : 0 (-17)

What this means is the figures in the marginals indicate a swing towards the two main parties from the Lib Dems, but significantly not much of a swing from Labour to Conservative, which is what is needed by Cameron in order to win the next General Election.

On these figures only 5 seats move from Labour to Tory (and that's including the best guess / research at tactical voting in Labour seats) and they are:

Clwyd West

If I were Gordon Brown I'd be quite happy with this poll and be thinking seriously about going to the country.

To add to the above, the swing indicated in the Populus figures would see the Tories taking more Lib Dem seats then just those in the 120 most marginal overall. The total forecast for the UK on these figures is:

Lab : 348 (+1)
Con : 247 (+34)
LDm : 23 (-37)
SNP : 6
PC : 4 (+2)
Oth : 22

This assumes no change in the SNP and PC vote. In reality the SNP will most likely take a number of Scottish Labour and Lib Dem seats.

Once again, all this poll is showing is a Tory munching of Lib Dem seats. The attack on Labour marginals that would win the election is not yet present.

Peter O:

Can you give us a link to the above?

Peter O at 14.02 - Clwyd West is a Conservative seat with David Jones MP as its MP.

Hi Antoinette,

Redrawn boundaries make Clwyd West a nominal Labour seat (I would estimate by about 125 votes).

Peter H,

I can put up the data again at www.forecastuk.org.uk if that would help. What information are you looking for in particular?

The "secret weapon" of the Conservative Party used to be discipline. I hope it rediscovers it sometime soon

It was supposed to be 'loyalty', actually.

Personally I've never understood the Tory concept of loyalty which is automatically transferred to any new leader moments after the last one has been kicked in the teeth but I suppose it is a variant on Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!

Not very 'Modern Britain' I fear, though.

I always get angry when people take untruths about the Conservatives and dress them as facts. I feel I would like to express the same anger towards those that keep having a go at Ming. The polls say he is toast. However, there is not a shred of real voting evidence to say this is so. In EVERY Westminster by-election or general council election , the LibDems have improved from when Charles Kennedy was leader. Fact? I think so.

Sorry- got my facts wrong- the LibDems did indeed lose some ground in this year's council elections. Fact remains though that they often do well.

16:46 Peter O

Sorry, I got confused. I thought the data you posted was a detailed breakdown of seat changes from the Populus poll. On re-reading your post, I see you calculated it yourself!

Might I ask by what method? Be good to see how you've applied the vote shares.

Peter H,

I've taken the 120 marginal seats and applied the swings that are in the Populus Poll (1.1 up on Labour etc). That gives me the figures I presented.

Interestingly, the Populus research was done on the 120 most marginal seats at the 2005 election. There is no allowance for the new boundary changes. Hmmmmmm......

More canvassing today. Good response overall, very little whingeing from voters bearing in mind the impression the negative posters on this site like to give. Of course no leader is perfect and there is always scope to refine plans but I think there is a small faction on this site who are absolutely determined to talk up problems, they have been doing this for months. Look back to the archives when we were well ahead of Labour. The same people were causing trouble then. They are a group who actually would prefer permanent Labour rule if they can't have their own hyper-pure concept of Conservatism. If we stick to the message which has stepped up in the last few weeks and hinges on law & order, health, education etc then we can win.

In EVERY Westminster by-election or general council election , the LibDems have improved from when Charles Kennedy was leader.
Liberal Democrat, and before them Liberal\SDP Alliance and in the 1960's & 1970's Liberal by-election successes are the stuff of history. They've been up and down - in February 1974 the Liberal Party got the same percentage vote on a lower turnout as the Liberal Democrats got in 2001, in 1983 and 1987 in all but seats the Alliance Party were way ahead of anything the Liberal Democrats have ever achieved.

If the Alliance had won 62 seats in 1983, I rather think that they would have actually strengthened after rather than falling back - the Alliance got 7,780,949 votes in 1983 and 7,341,651 in 1987 compared to Liberal Democrat performances of 5,999,384 in 1992, 5,242,947 in 1997, 4,814,321 in 2001 (actually not many more than the Liberal Party in 1979 when they were at a low), 5,981,874 in 2005. Basically their vote is about back to where it was in 1992, they have done well in times of low turnout and built up a base of MPs, but with higher turnout I doubt they could get the 7 million + votes the Alliance got especially if Labour recaptures the Student vote and the vote of old mining areas which is where the Liberal Democrats have gained most of their advances.

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