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It may be "steady" Tim but The Telegraph is correct.

It ain't good enough for victory.

Good news can only last until someone shoots us in the foot.

awesome, this lead is starting to stabilise and if we can improve on it victory is in sight!

By far the most important thing about this poll is that it means, as Mike Smithson points out on political betting, that the Tories have been at 40% or just over ever since the election that wasn't - 14 polls in a row, I think he said. That is election-winning stuff and a truly incredible consistent performance from David Cameron.

Blair made Labour electable again and David Cameron, to his immense credit, has done the same for the tories.
That does not mean that I think that he has got everything right yet but we are in a much more satisfactory position than even 6 months ago because we are coming out regularly in front.
Now we have to fully deserve that lead by getting the right people in post, preparing for government, and a raft of policies that cohere.

The party needs to come up with big ideas to compliment the many fine smaller intitatives that have been developed so far. Job creation is a key area where the party can steal a march on the government. This can be done by offering monumental targeted tax-cuts to business that creates jobs. The more jobs created the greater the tax relief, although I believe that the problem of job creation runs far deeper than the issue of tax, there can be no doubt that a business allowed to keep more of its profits will grow and create more work.

It must be frustrating for Tories not to be further ahead in the polls but they only have themselves to blame.

The party has done sterling work in analysing the country’s ills and has produced some first rate solutions but they have totally failed to find a theme to link them all together. The average voter, asked to consider them, is reduced to a mumbling - - “Well - er - Yes - but what do they stand for?” There is every reason to be dissatisfied with Labour but no particular reason to enthuse over the Tories. They are not inspired, largely because the Tory leadership itself shows no fire in its belly - except on individual issues. It’s a total failure to grasp basic marketing principles! (Where’s the USP? =Unique selling point)

The country is in a terrible mess - Let them mend it!

Since writing the above I've read the paper's two articles on the subject, Two quotes ---"most voters continue to take a dim view of the Government. Its approval rating now stands at only 24 per cent" and
"David Cameron continues to make no vivid impression. --- When people do contemplate David Cameron's party, large numbers take a more benign view than they did in the past, but even more see it only as a blur"

Give us something to INSPIRE us - give us a dream to vote for!

Not bad and credit must be given for being were we are as opposed to where we where. However, I think this reflects more that Labour is behind rather than we are in front and this position is nothing to be either thankful or optimistic about.

The British electorate are bored, disenchanted and disenfranchised with the political elite. It’s time soon for the Conservatives to show some vision and leadership in key areas and not just to try and look more competent than Brown’s Labour as that is not difficult and will not inspire the 50% polls that we need with a hugely biased electoral boundary system.

As a matter of interest does anyone know how much parliamentary time has been given to the Lisbon Treaty (aka the EU Constitution) and how much time was given to the hunting bill? – I think that will say it all.

Christina @ 11.26 - 'Let them mend it' --- Let them eat cake?

Seriously, I do agree with your last sentence, BUT, a thought has occurred to me even while thinking of writing this, would you not agree that maybe it is too early for 'dreams', BECAUSE, many, many people had a dream - and were encouraged to - in 1997, and the FACT, yes fact, that that dream (whatever it was ), has been so convincingly demolished, has made a very large number of people extremely cynical about politicians and WHY they decided to become politicians in the first place. Examples would be lawyers - hmmm! they like to rip you off - there are a fair number - or have been over ten years - in this government. Another example trade unionists - well they are NOT known for philanthropic attitudes to the public as a whole, and there are a fair number of them in parliament nowadays!!

To change direction, many people say that the country is in a mess, and many mean the actual fabric of running the country, which has happened over the last ten years, due to irresponsible tinkering, here and there with Ministries etc: with no lateral thinking involved as the wider effects of such ill-thought-out changes. Now a new Prime Minister coming into this sort of mess - whatever his politics (apart from Labour who would just go on doing the same and more unraveling!), is going to have a tough time having to unravel as much of the mess, as soon as possible as he can - the question is CAN HE?????

All this is just skating round an issue that has been there since 1997. The Tories seem totally incapeable of taking on the basic Labour attack. Labour's main point, nearly all the time, is to attack the Tories usually by blatently missrepresenting Tory policy or the history of the Tory governments. They get away with it because the Tories can't be bothered to address the issue.

Just one result; Labour claim the Tories cut public services in order to cut taxes. Hence, voters don't believe any tax cutting policies by the Tories. Since the Tories can't be bothered to defend themselves the media pick up the attitude; in the 90s NHS problems were as a result of the Tories, now, you may have noticed, it is usually the doctors fault. Craven journalists and businesmen confronted with a Labour created problem don't blame Labour but refer to "politicians" or say "successive governments of all parties".

Voters have come to live in a media paralel universe where history and, therefore, the potential future is a bit like the computer generated Matrix film but designed by Labour, the left and cowardly jounalists just going with the flow.

"will not inspire the 50% polls that we need"

We won't ever get that.

In practical terms, winning political parties in the UK get around 44-46% at most in the election (there are very few occasions where it is higher, and the rise of the "third" parties mean it's even less likely). Blair obtained this in 1997, however due to poor polling techniques, the lead in polls registered was far higher. Improvements in polling mean that figures are now more closely related to actual results, hence the sky high figures registered by Labour in opinion polls are unlikely to ever be seen again. This is merely a reflection of the increasing accuracy of polling, not a reflection on the attractiveness of the Conservatives under Cameron vis a vis Labour under Blair.

However, further to this, you have a substantial part of the electorate that will simply never vote Conservative. Their opinions were formed in the 90s, and while somewhat diminished by the advent of a younger generation without that base view, it is nevertheless still there and still has a considerable effect. This fundamental hatred of the party will make it difficult for really solid leads for some time. Cameron, in moving the party to the centre, softening its character and distancing it from the harsher tenets of Thatcherism will make it more likely that the party will be rehabilitated in time, but it is by no means certain.

Against that background, a solid presence in the 40% band is an excellent beginning.

David et al - You still don't get the critical point. The party is failing to build any image of itself at all. Nobody knows what to make of it - not even the bloggers here. It lacks a central theme to which all the other policies should contribute and be linked. This is not politics at all - it's marketing.

Having said that - and as an ex-Market Researcher, it is quite clear to me that as there will be a "forced choice" when the election comes round a great many of the centre ground will harden their opinions. My guess is that this NOW would improve the Tory standing.

But of course the election is not NOW - it may be 2 years off. For heaven's sake please use the time to get some coherence into the appeal - a THEME!

As a Tory inclined anti-EU campaigner my final choice will be based on what I see as the overriding issue. But that's not everyone else's priority. That said, I think that a robust attitude and promises of action towards the EU shambles would do a lot to harden the Tory vote - significantly

Marketing rather actually involves a theme to attract consumers to a particular product. But most successful marketeers know that you can't get consumers to embrace a theme if they have no propensity to consume the product on offering in the first place.

"But that's not everyone else's priority. That said, I think that a robust attitude and promises of action towards the EU shambles would do a lot to harden the Tory vote - significantly"

Oh yes, a campaign on the EU will harden the Tory vote. But it won't widen it; it will leave us where we were in 2001 et al.

Cameron's success so far has been increasing the propensity of the electorate to consider the Conservatives. That's why the 40% is a good beginning, upon which a successful theme, based on moderate, centrist politics, can be built. This is a slow process however, and can't be done in the space of a few months. It needs to be crafted and fed out carefully. Not least because it's easy for this particular flavour of Labour government to simply take over any successful points that emerge, but because the electorate will not accept a programme that is simply rolled out in a few months- that would smack of something artificially crafted, and would be distrusted as being honest.

The latest from the Labour love-fest:

"Labour has brought Britain close to achieving the dream of full employment, Gordon Brown has told the party faithful.

In a keynote speech at Labour's spring conference in Birmingham, the Prime Minister said more people are working in Britain than ever."

If we are close to achieving full employment then why did the government hire David Freud to tell them how to get millions off benefit? Once again the Labour lie machine is working to full capacity.


Polling organisations are run by Labourites. They skew polls as much as they can in Labour's favour, to take the pressure off Brown and put pressure on Cameron. If they give The Conservatives a 7 point lead, that means they are probably 14 points ahead, in reality. Labour is busted flush. Ironically, it's Labour's use of pseudo conservative/right-wing spin, in 'orrible rags like The Mail, that makes the Conservatives job much easier. That means that right of centre policies (or gimmicks in Labour's case) are still seen as vote winners, and the floating vote, might just realise that the Conservatives are more likely to represent that, than the Labour Party, who have been doing the opposite, for 3 terms, whilst lying through their teeth to pretend they haven't.

I think there's a good chance the Tories will hit around 40 per cent in the next election.

The trouble is, there appears to be a ceiling around that figure, and there will be 30-40 seats we don't take - either Labour seats in some of the northern Met areas, and parts of Lancashire, or a scattering of other seats which diverge from the trend for various reasons - ones the Lib Dems desperately try to hang on to, or those where Labour does do a bit better.

If we had a credible economic spokesman - with gravitas - we could gradually shift that other 2 - 3 per cent of the electorate we really need.

JJB at 14.55:

"If we had a credible economic spokesman - with gravitas - we could gradually shift that other 2 - 3 per cent of the electorate we really need".

It could be as simple as that and the irritating thing is that there are MPs capable of it who are not even in the shadow Treasury team.

I also agree with Christina that we really do need a clarion call to wake us all up and excite us: "Set the people free" has been used before but the way things are going in this country it might well be time to dust it off and use it again.

David Belchamber - I agree - it's definitely not as simple as that, but I think there is 2-5 per cent of people who are wavering, and a re-assuring credible economic spokesman might be the decisive thing that shifts some of them over.

Osborne doesn't have that. He is over personal aswell in his attacks on Ministers over very important subjects - without offering a coherent critique or alternative, and I don't think people like it.

There is a lot of talk about requiring on overarching theme if we are to have a chance of winning the next General Election.

Without people squealing about not copying New Labour in 1997 (I'm not in any way advocating copying, I am looking at them as a case study), can anyone say what their 'overarching theme' or 'USP' was? And again in 2001 and 2005?

I think they basically campaigned on a series of issues and slogans (24 hours to save the NHS...Education x3...tough on the causes of crime etc), but I don't think they had this overarching theme. I think people voted for them because they weren't the Conservatives, and they weren't too scary - they looked like a viable alternative.


A few points to note.
1. The voters who put in Maggie, kept her in and voted for Major, raised children who vote Labour [an overstatemnet, but to a great extent, true].

2. 10 million people have gone off the electoral role since 1992, mostly through death, mostly through old age.
Who lost out there do you think? [Norman Tebbitt's 5 million lost Tory voters? I'd be surprised if it was only 5 million].

3. 10 million voters have come on to the electoral role since 1992, most of them Labour, some LDs, some green, almost no Tories.
This has only recently changed. Under DC.

It takes time to turn things around. The fact that we have so far to go is a shared responsibilty. Digging us out - likewise. So far DC has done his bit.
I am doing mine.

"It ain't good enough for victory."

That's what they said when Labour was 5% ahead in October 1978.

I think we're actually 10% ahead in the marginal seats - the swings tend to be larger in the marginals when a change of government becomes a strong possibility. We would have had a majority of 61 rather than 21 in 1992 if the whole country had followed the uniform 2% national swing to Labour.

I agree with the comments above recognising the huge transformation of our fortunes for which Cameron is responsible. The Tories are now back in the game; Cameron's particular ability has been to make the electorate willing to listen to the Tories once again. 40% is a good figure which would be built on in the course of an election campaign. Brown would come across terribly under intense campaign publicity whereas Cameron copes well with such publicity. I don't think we need to look at the 40% figure too pessimistically.

However we still see various of our spokespeople either under-performing or shooting themselves in the foot and thus hampering the progress of the overall project. Failure to capitalise on the mistakes of Brown is the reason why the 40% figure isn't higher.

Northern Rock is a prime example of a dire situation ripe for an opposition to benefit from. Had we said consistently and more forcefully advocated that NR should have been placed under the proposed Bank of England administration scheme, for example, we could more credibly: call nationalisation a disaster, oppose the Bill, call for Darling's dismissal, cite the likely damage to the City and highlight the failures of Brown and the FSA early in the whole saga. Instead, we give an alrady hostile media the opportunity to make our approach look pathetic, inconsistent and opportunistic.

Similarly, I thought the campaign with the series of 10 posters launched this week was excellent. Behind those posters lie solid ideas backed by detailed studies. we have many sensible policies in the making which appeal to people like me who are keen to see someone take the lead and get a common-sense amd competent grip on the administration of our country. But I was exasperated on the same day to see Lansley make ridiculous statements about health funding which had messy ramifications for our "shadow budget".

We need to prevent stop these errors - both major (e.g. Conway) and minor (e.g. gifting to the press and to Labour the Auschwitz comment - a valid criticism, improperly conveyed) Only when we get our act together completely and show that we have done so will a resounding proportion of the public (a) trust us (b) trust us to be competent and (c) vote us in with a decent majority. Perhaps then we can expect consistent 10%+ leads in every poll. I think we're getting closer, we're setting the agenda and we have the government on the back foot (just look at their reaction to Boris!)

I am somewhat hesitant to agree with the clamour for an overarching message. Instead, let's firmly cement our policies in the voters' minds, as we appear to be trying with the 10 adverts I mentioned earlier. When a voter asks "what would a Conservative government do?", it is surely better to reply by asking that voter which issues he/she is most concerned about and then to explain the relevant core policies in those areas, rather than to reply by blurting out an overarching slogan like "we will promote social responsibility" or something similarly meaningless. Voters want to see action, effective action, not a continuation of the uber-marketing jargon and management-speak approach which has been Labour's hallmark and which has so damaged politics as a whole.

In my nook of London where Labour and Conservative are running neck-and-neck, the main issues for people are:

1. Crime & antisocial behaviour
2. Rubbish collection
3. Tax (not just Council but general burden)
4. Housing
5. Education

Things like the EU, immigration and ID cards (sadly) barely register at all.

Though important, these issues come nowhere to the fear of crime, fear of going out at night, desperation at the poor attitude of our youngsters, dog shit, fly-tipping, litter-dropping; the poor education our schools offer even if these kids went to school; the disillusionment that a whole generation of people will probably have to rent for the majority of their lives, and that local post offices and A & Es are closing despite a MASSIVE contribution in tax.

Cameron must time and time again hammer Labour on our broken society. His line that - where as in the 1970s Britain was the sick man economically, now it is socially - was a great and true one.

Cameron is at his most convincing when talking about these issues and the swing voters want to hear his tough love.

We need more stuff like IDS's report on Social Justice etc. The country is ready for the strong arm.

Cameron should give them what they want.

Well done to those here who say it is time the Conservatives took on Labour's misrepresentation of the facts about government. Labour take credit for the entirely expected. ''We have more hospital beds than in 1997''- that is like saying water falls from a waterfall. To have less hospital beds now than in 1997 would be symptomatic of a failed State- something like Iraq or Sudan.

This can be done by offering monumental targeted tax-cuts to business that creates jobs.
George Osborne left very little rom for any major tax cuts - he committed the Conservatives to matching the Labour spending plans for 3 years and to reducing the budget deficit more than Labour would.

Conservative fiscal policy has since become totally confused and obscure - first there was a suggestion that the spending plans might be abandoned a few months into a new government, then George Osborne said they weren't being abandoned.

Now Andrew Lansley has popped up to claim that a Conservative government would raise spending on the NHS to 11% of GDP, George Osborne and David Cameron have not smashed this statement down - why not? Are they worried about being seen to restrain spending on many of Labour's spending priorities - to make fundamental changes they have to do this and the whole thing comes over as a shambles.

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