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Electoral Calculus makes that a dead heat, with Tories and Labour on 299 seats a piece.

Queen reported to be making sure she has a coin handy.

Given that nothing has happened in recent weeks, I wouldn't be too worried about this. Let's wait until normal service resumes in Westminster before we draw too many conclusions from this.

I agree with you Christopher Blore. Not much can be inferred from a Poll taken at this time of year.

"Queen reported to be making sure she has a coin handy" - Funniest thing I've read for a while.

The most interesting story is in The Observer about Brown offering Clegg talks on constitutional reform. The woo-ing of the LibDums has begun.

Surely the Lib Dems aren't that daft are they?

Polls fluctuate and we are sure to be behind and ahead several times before 2010.

The thing that we mustn't forget through all of it is that we are trusted b the electorate again and Cameron is the right man for the job. He jut needs to carry on with the same BALANCED message, and expose Brown when he slips up.

The fundamental weakness of the Conservative Party is David Cameron. Yes: I know he appeals to many but I have this nagging feeling that he's an opportunist without real beliefs. I'm not sure he'll ever be seen differently. Ultimately he's a PR guy and although he has considerable strengths voters will never really believe in him. His great advantage is the weakness of his opponents.

I agree this poll must be taken with a pinch of seasonal salt. Even so - why are the LibDems down? Where is the Clegg bounce?

"Cameron is a PR spiv" is on to something. Brown and Cameron are level-pegging on who would make best PM. Cameron must start asking more serious questions at PMQs if voters are to see him as ready to be PM.

"Surely the Lib Dems aren't that daft are they?"

The Lib Dem website has the article. Clegg comes out calling for a Constitutional Convention. Cameron should ignore it. The BBC hasnt registered it as newsworthy so Cameron shouldnt treat it as such.

The Sunday Times - rightly in my view - largely ignores the headline figures which are flying all over the place . There is no election this month and respondents know that 'voting intention' is not a valid question at this stage. Also I note that the sample size is "more than 1500 people". This is about three-quarters of YouGov's normal sample size and in the absence of any explanation the headline results must be viewed with suspicion.

Mmmm - only 5%. If we cannot manage more that this we SHOULD worry. Brown is dead in the water and we cannot manage to keep a double figure lead. If he gains momentum in the New Year we are back where we started.

Totally surprised that they've bothered to perform a poll over the Christmas period.

A complete waste of time.

What happened to Christmas time being a period of rest and reflection for heavens sake?? If YouGov had phoned me up, I would have told them quite simply to bog off.

If the *best* that Labour can hope for is to come within 5% of the Conservatives, I shouldn't get too concerned.

Edison @ 1226 - You miss the point - YouGov do NOT phone anybody up. They send an invitation to panel members and give them the change to do it in their own time at their convenience. That is why they get a very low refusal rate. The fact that the sample was well below normal indicates that non-response was way above normal.

christina speight - apologies for my ignorance in regards to YouGov. I'm merely surprised to be logging on on December 30th to find yet another poll! There is no imminent election, this isn't Iowa!

The Times were right not to go big with the headline figures as I shan't imagine the poll is accurate. Let us hope not anyway...

Your criticisms of this poll are valid, Edison, but that doesn't neccesarily mean it favours one party or the other.

But you are right to say 'lets wait and see what happens'

As many others here, I am not too worried about this poll.
I am pleased that the Tory Party seems to have stabilised in the low forties.

I fail to see what vision Labour can offer to the electorate. They have literally run out of ideas. Compare that with the radical Conservative programme being built. I'm looking forward to seeing the plans for welfare reform in the new year. David Cameron has indicated that training for the jobless will feature. Something I'm very keen to see. Labour have nothing to offer, they have shot all their bolts and missed every single target. They need a period of opposition in order to have something to react against. Then they can don their thinking caps again.

Mike Smithson at PolitcalBetting reckons the slight dip in Conservative poll ratings is due to absence from the airwaves. He writes: "Over the past two years there has been a pretty close correlation between the amount of media coverage that Cameron has enjoyed and Tory party ratings. A key driver of the Brown polling bounce in the summer was that the Tories were almost totally blanked out of the news."

David Cameron is NOT a spiv - and the more the public see of him the more they like him. Unlike Bottler Brown.

YouGov know their panel members voting profile. Thus when Gordo is getting a kicking, deservedly, they drum up a Labour only survey. Thus 60% of Labour voters think he is doing a bad job and 40% will vote Conservative!! Just carefully note Kellner's words regaring Brown.
48% versus 29% is a more realistic gap!

I couldn't disagree more with "Cameron is a PR spiv."
I would hardly call DC the fundamental weakness of the party when he has led our party to its best poll ratings for 19 years. It's very sad that some people call him an "opportunist" every time he raises an issue or criticises the government - that is what one would expect of an Opposition Leader. Of course he has real beliefs - centre-right beliefs.
BTW, this poll has been conducted at a very odd time. I find it hard to believe there has been a 3.5% swing to Labour in such a short period of time, or that the LibDems have already fallen after the election of their new leader.

David Cameron is not a spiv but a spinner. Our policy "confusion" on key policy areas such as education (e.g. grammar schools) and the environment (e.g. flight rationing and taxes) gave Brown an opportunity that he failed to take.

Cameron's first two years have been too liberal and insufficiently conservative. The public are fed up with political correctness, multiculturalism and eco-fascism.

2008 must be the year that the Conservative Party returns to conservatism. If Cameron goes back to liberalism, he will let Brown off the hook and our support could drop like it did during the Brown honeymoon.

Mike Smithson as so often, has it right. We have receceived very little coverage over the past three weeks.Whenever opposition parties are denied publicity their poll ratings suffer.
What does suprise me is that Lib Dems have received no gain at all after their leadership contest.
More perplexing is the loyalty that so many people feel towards this monumentally incompetent government.
This battle is far from won.

"We should probably be a little sceptical about polls taken over the Christmas period."

"I shan't imagine the poll is accurate."

It is surprising how often people on this site find reasons to ignore polls they don't like. I appreciate that this is a natural human reaction, but please consider the alternative possibility: that despite two years of effort, and spectacular incompetence from Labour, Cameron and his team really haven't made that much of an impact.

"the radical Conservative programme being built."

What radical programme? Cameron and his team have spent two years explicitly trying to say that they're almost identical to Labour: that's what "detoxification" has been all about.

The poll highlights what I think is the bottom line: We have a slight-but-solid lead over Labour, of perhaps 3-5%, and anything beyond that is extremely flimsy, though maybe there nonetheless.

2008 is the year in which a 10-13% lead must be hardened and routine, rather than a fickle response to recent events.

Very sensible argument by Alex Swanson.

Whenever polls appear on here, two things happen. If the polls look good then everyone says it's accurate and when polls go down for us, everyone says we should ignore it. Ridiculous.

The bottom line is that in the two years Cameron has been leader, he hasn't set out any bold vision whatsoever. Two years on and I still don't know what our policies are on education, health or social security. He's barely spoken about foreign policy and the only thing he's mentioned on taxation is IHT. And the cuts in that will still be offset by raises elsewhere.

Only 5 points up when Brown is at his lowest is simply not good enough.

A happy new year to everybody.

I haven't analysed this one in detail - and it could be some blip over the holiday.

However, there is a slight warning here.
The Tory conference was good because it set out some flesh on the bones and hopefully showed the public a positive vision.
The party has done well since, but I have a feeling we're relying too much on scandal headlines and negative things whipped up in the media. When they're out of the news and it's a holiday, that's a partly valid test.

2008 must be the year we redouble our efforts and focus very much on the domestic agenda.

"More perplexing is the loyalty that so many people feel towards this monumentally incompetent government."

People still hate Conservatives and would rather vote for Brown that the party of Thatcher.

"People still hate Conservatives and would rather vote for Brown that the party of Thatcher."

Mrs Thatcher won 3 landsldes and has recently been voted britain's best prime minister by a large margin. People don't want to vote for the party of major and his sleazy corrupt cabinet.

M Dowding's suggestion that YouGov generated this result through a Labour only survey is ridiculous. Like all pollsters, they get most of their income from non-political polling. They would not risk their reputation by producing a deliberately dodgy poll.

We should not ignore polls because we don't like what they say. On the other hand,
some scepticism about polls over the holiday season is justified.

Right now we are getting a mixed message. Some polls give us a double digit lead, others put the lead at around 5%. However, when a 5% deficit gets hailed as a "good" result for Brown, it shows how far we have come.

We know that our ratings go up the more Cameron appears in the news. Despite the sniping from some quarters, Cameron is our biggest electoral asset. I suspect Brown is Labour's biggest electoral liability. The next election is not yet in the bag, however much we may wish it were so. We have to look like a government in waiting and earn the nation's trust. On these counts, I think Cameron is doing an excellent job.

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