« A thought for Guy Fawkes Day | Main | Paint Brown as The Great Waster »


The need for Cameron to prove that he's up to being a strong leader appears to be the key challenge?

It won't be long before Osborne is back in David Laws' office for friendly talks. ConHome may wish it weren't true but a Lib-Con pact is very much on our leadership's mind. It may not be a formal pact with LibDems in Cabinet but we will give them PR in the Lords and no EU Treaty vote and in return we'll have a package of measures on localism, civil liberties and green taxation. You heard it here first!

We still need many more months of this progress to really cement our position as the government-in-waiting. This latest poll may signify that Labour are starting to steady the ship, which isn't good news, but hopefully the downturn in the economy will keep them boxed in for a while longer.

A Lib-Con pact would be utter lunacy that would sicken the grassroots. There should be no deals at all.

Out of step with every other polling organisation so people can draw their own conclusions about that.

The message for the lib dems is clear when they have no leader their poll rating improves, so clearly a perpetual leadership contest is in the Party's interests.

Fo once I agree totally with James Maskell.


Genuine question, not attacking you.

You regularly tell 'trads' that they should keep quiet for the sake of unity to ensure you get a Conservative (big C) Government as anything is better than Brown etc.

Doesn't that equally apply to those of you who oppose a Lib-Lab pact? I agree it is a terrible idea, but the party does seem to be heading in this direction, so should party members not stay united and support such a move rather than ferment dissent?

I'm just interested to know where party members absolutely draw the line, and what they would do if that line was crossed.

oops that should be Lib-Con not Lib-Lab pact.

So hard to tell the difference these days! ;-)

An interesting poll. The detailed figures are not yet available on Populus, but the Labour lead is essentially a rounding error. According to Peter Riddell, a shift of just two people would have left the parties tied.

Populus are not as Labour-friendly as MORI, but their methodology is more favourable to Labour than most other pollsters. ComRes and ICM would both have shown Conservative leads given the same raw data, although not as big as the leads they showed using their own data.

This poll is out of step with other recent polls, although it does show our position improving compared to the last Populus poll. I can't immediately see any reason our support would have suddenly dropped from 40%+ to 36% - such a significant change would usually be caused by bad news for us or good news for Labour and I haven't noticed anything that would be enough to cause such a large shift in opinion. We will have to wait and see if this shift is reflected in other polls.

None of the above says we should in any way discount this poll. I am NOT trying to rubbish it. If anything, this tends to confirm what I've been saying about working hard and not becoming complacent or sounding triumphalist.

Some good signs for us:

1) Cameron's ratings are going up, Brown's are going down. If this continues, it will be reflected in the party ratings.

2) The BBC and others are referring to today's Queen's Speech being used by Gordon Brown to "try to regain the political initiative". Again, if the perception remains that we have the initiative, this will feed through into the party ratings.

3) I am seeing more letters from Labour supporters in the press using scare tactics, such as suggesting that the Conservatives want to abolish welfare benefits and return to soup kitchens and workhouses. I am sure that some Labour supporters genuinely believe that (Neil Kinnock for one), but using this kind of scare tactic smacks of desparation. Of course, the Labour party itself is not doing this but the fact that some supporters are may indicate that confidence is waning.

4) There are increasing calls within the Labour movement for the party to move to the left and follow a core vote strategy. Neither of the major parties can win by following a core vote strategy. However, if you are unable to win an election, it is a good strategy for minimising the size of the loss. So I would interpret these calls as a loss of confidence. It can, of course, equally mean that the hard left are becoming over confident, which is also good for us.

I still think it is all to play for but I think we hold most of the cards.

Obviously not a great poll, but a very timely reminder to all, Parliamentary Party and grassroots alike that we can't afford to rest on our laurels after a few good weeks

The party does not seem to be heading in that direction Chad.

The Conservative Party has now been out of power, for longer than anytime in, what? 200 years. In the event of a hung parliament, whats it going to do, refuse a pact, that may doom it another 1/2/3 terms in opposition. If Labour and the Libdems, get together who knows, they might get to like it. Labour now is not the same as Labour back in the 1970's.

We might see the re-alingnment of the, 'left' much dreamed of by Social Democrats.

The most important feature is the start of a Lib Dem recovery. Ming was a liability. These polls are meaningless as the new Lib Dem leader should be able to take the party up to or over 20%.

If there was a hung Parliament, Cameron would be mad not to negotiate with the Lib Dems. The voters, fed up with Labour, would expect him to at least try to form a coalition. The sole purpose of a political party is to govern.

It is possible that Cameron could strike a deal, especially with Clegg. The key issues will be proportional representation and the relationship with the EU.

The real irony is that the Orange Bookers are more free market than the Cameroons in several areas, e.g. want more choice in public services. A Clegg victory should force Cameron to embrace radical reform instead of the statist, nannying rubbish offered by Lansley and Dorrell.

It seems our post conference surge continues to subside. I'm sorry to say this but I think we're on the slide again.

Not helpful I know, but that seems to be the trend. There is no foregone conclusion, it is not manifest destiny that we'll form the next Government.

By the way Peter Harrison, never underestimate the power of incumbency. Labour holds a lot of cards and can stack the deck as its done time and again in the past.

I hope we'll continue as we started at conference, to project ourselves as a purposeful and pragmatic government in waiting, ready to lighten the ever-pressing burden of the state upon the individual, but I'm not holding my breath. We seem to be unhealthily obsessed with liberalism at the moment.

James Maskell is correct, although CCHQ Spy's predictions sound horribly plausible.

Old Hack - I certainly don't underestimate the power of incumbency. It is generally the case that governments lose elections rather than oppositions winning them. This is part of why I believe we have to keep working and take nothing for granted. However, I don't believe this poll is due to the power of incumbency. At the moment I simply think it is odd and want to see the detailed figures and the trend of future polls.

However, this poll certainly does not support the view that we are on the slide. The only meaningful direct comparison is with the last Populus poll and our position has clearly improved since then.

This is, I think, the only recent post-conference poll to place the Conservatives on under 40%, so I don't think there is much evidence (so far) that Conservative support is declining.

I agree with you, James Maskell at 09.56, on part of your comment:

"A Lib-Con pact would be utter lunacy that would sicken the grassroots. There should be no deals at all".

I agree that there should be no formal pact but, as any government is almost by definition a coalition of interests and views, we should look for support from the Lib/Dems on some issues, where we are broadly in agreement with them.

There are already agreements in place on some issues, for example ID Cards.But the idea that we get into a formal pact with a party whith whom we disagree with over so much, is, as James Maskell says, 'lunacy'.

I agree with Malcolm and James Maskell but I also agree with Sean Fear that the leadership of the Tory Party already wants to do a deal with the Lib Dems and is probably maneouvring to do so. Cameron knows full well that the electoral odds/system are stacked against him and that at best he will win a slender majority. He will attempt to get into bed with the Lib Dems (and not just the Orange Bookers because there aren't enough of them) not least because (i) he fears that Labour will offer the Lib Dems PR; and (ii) both he and his supporters detest the Tory Right (not just Cornerstone) and do not want to end up having to rely on them for a Parliamentary majority. Shades of Ted Heath in 1974?

Polls move around - we need to see more.

Never ever give the Lib Dems an inch of credibility by talking about hung Parliaments.

Take as many seats as possible. Actually, I think people have already decided the Yellow Peril (a party which often attacks Labour from the left) are pretty irrelevant to the national contest and will generally side with Conservatives and Labour.

However, the LDs are often hard to shift from actual seats even when their national share of the vote falls.

Clegg is vacuous and takes a long time to say almost nothing.

It may not be a formal pact with LibDems in Cabinet but we will give them PR in the Lords and no EU Treaty vote and in return we'll have a package of measures on localism, civil liberties and green taxation.
Why not hold the Liberal Democrats to their recently formulated policy and have a referendum on EU membership. As for pacts, given there is a Labour majority of 63 what sort of pact would there be, surely this is something for after a General Election when composition of the House of Commons is known unless of course some kind of electoral pact was being proposed, there was a limited electoral agreement in 1951.

I recon that Labour attritional campaigning using the BBC/channel4/press will start to eat into our lead, and that this is the first indication. Add to that the usual Labour 'attack their capacity to fight'(General Trotsky's tactics during the russian revolution incidentally) tactics which we are currently seeing in the form of the anti-ashcroft law etc, and the 'be shapeless/formless/meaningless' tactic they employ (taken no doubt from from sun-tsu, incidentally), and finally the total control of all information in Conservative Central Office which labour seem to have (recent guardian leaks), and you've got your usual receipe for attritional long term decline of our polling. Or 'massacre of the Conservative Central Office Peasants by the Labour Professionals' as I call it.
It has been going on for years: a piece of news gives us a boost in the polls, but Labour get it back using attritional campaigning.

What have Labour done to deserve being in the lead, I ask myself. Where was the survey done - Kirkcaldy or Jarrow?

but the Labour lead is essentially a rounding error

Oh well that's all right then.

My view is that anybody who bases their hopes on these madly swinging polls is a fool.

It makes very little difference to me whether the country is run by Nulabour or Blulabour but if I had to put money on anybody I think the masses will simply put this lot back in again when the times.

However a Con-Lib pact could be interesting as it will be certain to produce one positive result.

Proportional Representation.

Re anonymous @ 16.37 - maybe in the days when Labour appeared to have some aim, or putting it correctly, the public perceived they had some vision. The public now perceive that Cameron and our party are emreging as the ones with some idea of the way forward and coherence. We have to build on that coherence with messages and ideas linking.

Frankly, I for one want nothing whatsoever to do with the Lib Dems, and am surprised to read posts from people who think it's a good idea.

Populus have not put the Tories ahead on ANY poll since the election. This does not represent a "narrowing of the gap" unless you mean us catching them up. I believe [and I hope I've got all this right] that this Labour's worst result with this polster.


Well...Populus were giving us leads earlier in the year (in fact from about May 2006 to May 2007), but Northern housewife is quite right that they tend to give us lower ratings, and they are the one firm that hasn't given us a lead since the conference.

Sharpening up the policies and highlighting the differences against the government certainly improved things - but there's more to do.

What an awful contemplation - a Con/Lib Pact. I would rather link with an Old Labour
Rump than with that bunch. And, as for any attempt to ditch referenda on (a) whether or not to accept the Constitution/Treaty, and, (b) if that consultation approves, ditching it, on, leaving the "Union", Brown's non-election cop-out would then appear as courageous statesmanship!

The Conservative Party has now been out of power, for longer than anytime in, what? 200 years. In the event of a hung parliament, whats it going to do, refuse a pact, that may doom it another 1/2/3 terms in opposition.
The Whig Party won majorities in 1857 and 1859 and these were followed by Liberal majorities in 1865 and 1868 with the Conservatives returning to power in 1874 after 17 years in opposition. They were then in opposition from 1880-86. The Conservatives got less than 30% of the Popular Vote in 1832.

Any pact inevitably would depend on what was on offer with regard to all sides, the point about being in politics is to get something done, if it was the case that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are as close as you suggest then what sort of deal would the Conservative Party be likely to get out of it that would actually deliver any difference.

It might even be that in the end Labour and the Conservatives come up with a better deal with each other than either could make with the Liberal Democrats. If there was to be a coalition involving 2 of the 3 parties or some kind of rotating power agreement between 2 of the 3 then whichever one was not involved will attempt to say that they are the distinct ones - Labour in opposition would say the Liberal Democrats were just Yellow Tories, the Liberal Democrats would say Labour were Red Tories and the Conservatives would say the Liberal Democrats were Socialists, this would be in the hope that supporters of coalition parties who dislike the other parties in the coalition would switch to them the opposition party.

and of course the hope that those with no clear party affiliation switch from the coalition parties, and of course what might be the bigger factor many might simply not vote in disgust or switch to other parties.

Liberal Democrat voters switching to the Greens or to the Liberal Party, and Labour voters switching to more extreme parties will also undermine their position.

"What an awful contemplation - a Con/Lib Pact. I would rather link with an Old Labour
Rump than with that bunch"

Yes - some people suggest it to annoy us!

However a Con-Lib pact could be interesting as it will be certain to produce one positive result.

Proportional Representation.
The Liberal Party prior to 1988 was committed to introducing a form of "PR" as far back as the late 1920s under Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald promised this in exchange for Liberal support, did the Liberals get what they wanted in the subsequent National Governments or out of the agreement in 1951 with Winston Churchill, or the Lib-Lab Pact in the late 1970s (Labour MPs blocked an attempt to hold a referendum), under John Smith the Plant Commission recommended AV, Paddy Ashdown had favourable indications from Tony Blair and Roy Jenkins came up with a scheme called AV+ which was quickly shelved, if there is a bill on a referendum on introducing something along the lines of STV in the next parliament then most Labour and Conservative MPs in safe seats and most who are worried that their party would seldom win an overall majority under such a system, would vote against - By 2009 Labour will have been in power 12 years, if the Conservatives had advanced again they would conclude they were on the way back and would see STV as a possible threat, even in the unlikely event the Liberal Democrats had 100 seats it would be unlikely to be enough with favourable MPs from other parties to carry it.

Would you trust the Lib Dems , I dont think so !!

All we need to do is just wait and let Gordon Brown show how weak he is, remember when Blair was pm, Brown always did his famous vanishing acts when things went wrong. So let him shoot a few more holes in his foot IE the sailorman changing his mind in 65 mins after being told what to say by Brown ( In his new open goverment )

This poll was 6th of November! A week is a long time in politics! Gordo, "call me Northern Rock2, Brown?

Reports are that tomorrows Sunday Times You Gov has Tories 41%, Labour 35% (-3% on last You Gov), Lib Dems 13% (+2%) - so a week is a long time in politics!

Gordon's ratings
His net approval rating in the YouGov survey has fallen from its height of 48% in the summer to 30% last month and minus 10% this.
A month ago, 59% thought he was doing a good job compared to 29% who said he was doing badly.
Now those thinking he is doing well have fallen to 33%, against 43% who feel he is doing a bad job.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker