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Rigged Poll or Death wish by the English electorate?....if any English people were polled in the first place that is.

Pollsters produce what they are told to produce.

Where did they manage to find 31% who think the country as a whole will fare well over the next year.

That said, this result feels about right. It hasn't been our finest month and, at the same time, Gordon Brown has been praised in much of the media. There's no space for complacency but I have no doubt that this is the top of Brown's "crisis" bounce.

Looked at in terms of news coverage Conservatives are "also"...whatever the ruling claque is for the Conservatives are "also".

There is nothing distinctive about the Conservative policy - it is simply "me too" and Labour looks like it has the right to rule because the Conservatives are afraid of responsibility.

The Conservatives look like the party for "work-life balance" but that is hardly relevant if you have no work. The situation is a shambles but few have faith in the Conservative front bench to lead....and simply the devil they know looks preferable. Unfortunately, nothing distinguishes the Conservatives other than a fear of being see as different

Looked at in terms of news coverage Conservatives are "also"...whatever the ruling claque is for the Conservatives are "also".

There is nothing distinctive about the Conservative policy - it is simply "me too" and Labour looks like it has the right to rule because the Conservatives are afraid of responsibility.

The Conservatives look like the party for "work-life balance" but that is hardly relevant if you have no work. The situation is a shambles but few have faith in the Conservative front bench to lead....and simply the devil they know looks preferable. Unfortunately, nothing distinguishes the Conservatives other than a fear of being see as different

It's well known that the UK electorate is not very bright on average - they keep voting for pro-EU parties.

UK Polling Report has a piece on this poll.

Yes Steve, every poll that doesn't go your way must surely be rigged.

Maybe it's that people don't trust Dave and George to run the country. I know I don't.

I'm not unduly concerned by this poll; it is the result of a week of good coverage for Gordon and relatively little coverage (good or bad) for David Cameron.

So long as the Conservatives don't panic then we're fine. There is some "clear blue water" opening on tax and spending policy and so long as the rising levels of debt are spelt out to the electorate, this shift benefits the Tories.

That's what happens to popularity chasers I am afraid. Dave and George stand for no real point of principle & have no right to be chosen for a position of trust.

They have taken the British public for fools. There is still time to shape up but they must bring some old blood into their circle. Their arrogance and lack of vision have been quite breathtaking. Nearly every member of the Conservative Party has a better idea of what to do than they do, so they had better start listening.

This is compared to over a month ago so not really as worrying a change as it 1st appears and well on target so enough stupid people say they would vote labour to have the possibility that brown will call the election next year.

I dont believe any poll i see 'Northernmonkey'.

However, i presume that you have faith in Broon and Darling, a pair of tax, spend and waste far-left wing communists, right?

"They have taken the British public for fools... their arrogance and lack of vision have been quite breathtaking."

Sorry, thought you were talking about Brown for a minute there.

Don't panic. As we found out last autumn, Brown Bounces don't last forever.

Populus is the same pollster that claimed we were only 3% ahead in March, lower than all the other polling organisations that month. Then we won the local elections by a landslide and gained the London mayoralty.

We were often lagging behind Labour in the late 1970s when Margaret Thatcher was Opposition leader.

Our poll lead will rise again by the end of the year, mark my words.

is it just me...as soon as Nu_Con is in trouble out pops a Telegraph/NOWT 'commisioned' poll which tells Dave 'every thing is all right'!!

That was fine when it was the case, but now as the polling 500 etc experts also now do not think Dave can win a majority.

As Mike Smithson says, Labour's problem is that the Conservative share isn't budging below 40% - they can't form a majority government unless that happens.

Indeed Mike Smithson believes the Tories will get a majority of some sort if they can keep above 40%. I would agree with his analysis, which is that the certainty of Labour voters (I supposed in safe seats) is hardening.

Also, some detail from the Times article.

However, Mr Cameron is favoured over Mr Brown by 42 to 35 per cent, as better able “to lead Britain forward after the next general election”.

I wondered why Brown was looking so upright (physically not morally!), as he paraded in the unaccustomed finery that he so despises, when I saw him on the news just now! Obviously, he must have been told of the latest poll!

Glenrothes bounce?

Communists Steve? You haven't spent time at the Republican School of Out-Dated Attacks have you?

Didn't do them much good and it won't do your argument much good either!

People realise we need a serious man at the helm when the waters get choppy. Does anyone here seriously think Boy George Osborne is that man?

People realise we need a serious man at the helm when the waters get choppy. Does anyone here seriously think Boy George Osborne is that man?

1. Cameron would be PM, not Osbourne. Dave would be "captain" and thus at the helm.

2. I would prefer Osbourne to Darling. The former is his own man, whereas the latter is Brown's bitch.

May be (I am not paranoid) Lord of Darkness is up to his old tricks again together with Alistair Campbell? Got through to some of the pollsters and applying pressure - trusting in the herd mentality.

I don't think people trust Dave to be at the helm either Raj - he's been awfully quiet lately regarding the economy.

The details of this poll are fascinating, and point to the fact that both Gordon Brown and the media have really raised expectations...

Osborne looks like a rabbit stuck in the headlights.

If he's so good as a political strategist why doesn't he realise that his best position is Party Chairman rather than the one where he is presently floundering in.

The problem is that Osborne looks like Cameron's wimpy younger brother. There needs to be more of a contrast in background and experience in the two key positions. Hague, Davis, Clarke or Fallon would provide this - Osborne doesn't.

Keeping Osborne as Shadow Chancellor will cost the Conservatives at least twenty seats at the next election.

Contrived media narrative Poll, from a dodgy polling organisation in a paper with a Brownite agenda. Until the newspapers stop pushing the pro-Labour narrative, I would question any polls that appear in them.

Keeping Osborne as Shadow Chancellor will cost the Conservatives at least twenty seats at the next election.

yeah, but probably lose labour and libdems at least 30 so net gain, we win, goodbye.

This really is to be expected. The liquidity crisis has caused govts to act, and that is the big advantage any incumbant has - it CAN act. GB et al have been enjoying the press that accompanied radical action (be it good or bad) and the press coverage has been very good for GB. But, soon it will get bored, and the consequences of govt action will start to sink in, namely: rising council tax, continually dropping house prices and markets, rising unemployment and - as the IMF says - a worse recession in the UK than anywhere else in the world (barring Zimbabwe and similar).

These stories will reverberating around the media long after GB realizes that bathing in the warmth of a recession is in bad taste. Moreover, they will be countered by Tory policies that include council tax freezes, funded weekly bin collections, tax cuts, radical education reform (foundation extn. etc), bankruptcy protection (USesque), fair military funding, Lisbon Referendum (if not ratified - though I may be late here)... and so on. These are issues ranging from local to global and cover a raft of concerns. The drip drip of policy can be sewn together at manifesto time, but it drives me mad when the BBC suggests that the Cons are without policy.

No change no chance

When we are outflanked from the right by the LibDems the party is in deep doodoo.

The noise from CCHQ whistling in unison to keep their spirits up will not drown out the bad news.

We are in the biggest financial crisis in 80yrs. Independent financial opinion says that we are worse placed to deal with it than any other nation. Our one remaining successful, internationally competitive industry, financial services, has been trashed and is threatened with being regulated out of existence. Hundreds of thousands lose their jobs, tens of thousands lose their homes.

Yet our charming, media savvy, zeitgeisty leadership is down 4% against the most denigrated useless exploded government in recent history.
Come back John Major all is forgiven.

Well if, and it is a very big if indeed, this poll is followed by others that also indicate a considerably reduced Tory lead then there will be a serious issue that must be addressed. However we will need to see a proper trend and not just a one off, possibly rogue, poll.

Cue headless chickens...

I have to say the complacency on here is staggering. I am not a Conservative supporter but can offer some advice. The Conservatives will not be taken seriously on the economy until they have a 'heavy hitter' as Shadow Chancellor. Gideon Osborne is a pygmy and is unable to formulate a coherent policy, let alone grasp the political initiative back from the Government.

....and in which lunatic asylum did they find 31% who thought the current motley crew were the best choice for Britain??

It is certainly true that polls produce what the pollsters want them to.

Once again the power of the media, particularly TV, to shape an apparently beguiled electorate into thinking what they want shows itself. Can anyone really believe that the architect of Britain's economic endebtedness and general weakness could be the saviour of the very system he did so much to damage???

If anything this really shows the fickleness of the electorate and not necessarily firmed-up voting intention.

"It's well known that the UK electorate is not very bright on average - they keep voting for pro-EU parties."

Like the tories?

Is anyone remotely surprised by this?

I'm actually hoping for a tory defeat. The COnservatives deserve to remain in opposition until they give us a choice in how we are governed.

Sure they may have opened up a bidding war with labour on tax cuts in the wake of the Obama victory but they're doing it because that is the way the wind is currently blowing and not as a point of principle.
So we have no reason to trust Camoron.

Tax cuts aren't enough anyway.
What we need is cheap energy as well as solid tax cuts. For that we need to forget EU renewables targets, scrap the climate change levy and abolish VAT on energy. All of that means going up against the EU which Camoron won't do and so we are still lumbered with an uncertain regulatory framework and reliance on foreign gas and policy is still decided elsewhere.

I'm not voting tory until they get a backbone and start acting like conservatives.

@Margaret Young...

Couldnt agree more. Osborne is nothing.

Mike Smithson's written a short piece on the different weighting used by ICM and Populus:

"All this means that other things being equal one would expect that Populus polls would have a slightly bigger Labour share than ICM and a smaller Lib Dem one."

I have to agree with Margaret Young. How can anyone seriously argue that George Osborne is an effective shadow chancellor?
I want the tories to win as much as anyone, but it is getting close to the point where I am seriously considering not voting in the next election. No politician has a right to high office, it has to be earnt, and so far as I can see George Osborne has done nothing at all to deserve to be Chancellor.
Gordon Brown has seriously damaged the UK economy with his policies, but I do not have any faith whatsoever that George Osborne actually understands what damage Gordon has done and how to reverse it. The Tories have any number of serious, heavyweight candidates for Shadow Chancellor - Hague, Davis, Clarke, Lawson, Lillico..take your pick.
The bigger issue I think is what this says about Cameron's leadership. This is the first real test of whether he has the strength of character and ruthlessness to be PM. Keeping George Osborne as shadow chancellor is damaging the tories chances of getting elected. Cameron has to choose between his friend and his party - should be a simple choice, surely?

At times like this the BluLabour strategy shows its inherent weakness as if we are all the same then many peole are likely to stick with the incumbent rather than risk a notional change.

It is a fact that these polls have the Osborne factor inbuilt .The other factor is the polls at present are a reflection of how bad or how good Labour are faring.
Unfortunately apart from Osborne’s gaffe the Conservatives actions have made little impact on any of the polls.
These are serious times that need serious people appoint Ken Clarke immediately and start attacking Labour on the economy.

This just one poll and in that regard I'm personally not too alarmed.

What it does do, alongside Glenrothes, is confirm the Brown recovery narrative.

We need to change up to present a credible and competent counter to Brown and Co. We have to face up to the need to reposition and rebrand ourselves.

This 'safe pair of hands' line from Brown was difficult to counter even without scandals and policy paralysis. In times like this it's leadership that's as important as anything.

To that end I liked what David Cameron said yesterday about unemployment.

I just wish he'd deal with Osborne.

Whatever you think of Darling, when have you seen him commenting on anything other than the economy?

That's how I would like the Shadow Chancellor to behave too.

100% focus on that one rather important job. Not also coordinating this or that, or having political catfights etc.

With Osborne remaining in place, the Tories will slip below 40% before the end of the year.

I remain of the opinion that there could be an early 2009 GE in which, at best, you would achieve an ineffective majority, whereafter you would stumble along before being forced to go to the country again to try and get a workable majority.

Diminishing poll leads coupled with Labour tax cuts could tempt even the cautious Mr B into trying his luck.

You have to start NOW with establishing a strong and coherent brand image in voters' consciousness to stand a chance of improving the outcome of an early election.

"Whatever you think of Darling, when have you seen him commenting on anything other than the economy? "

And when Cameron has to pick up the economic baton and lead with it because Osborne can't be trusted or allowed to go in front of the media it leaves Cameron very exposed, for the Shadow Ministers should act as a policy buffer to protect Cameron, instead Osborne is nothing short of a liability and a conductor of bad news straight to Cameron.

One can only admire Cameron’s dedication to his mate Osborne, which could be said to be bordering on the reckless, in that he puts it above the 20 points in the polls that Osborne's incompetence and blundering has cost the party, and that he puts above his own political neck which is now becoming very exposed because of Osborne.

Garland's cartoon in the Telegraph echoes the proposition that that is no clear water between Messrs Brown & Cameron.


I am delighted with the result of this poll. Let us have a few more like it, with the margin between us and NuLab narrowing.
That way there might be the chance of Bottler taking the plunge sooner than later. For I don't think this country could survive two more years of a scorched earth/wanton spraying out of borrowings "strategy".
But isn't Obama the lucky lad to have such a wise statesman as our Gordon offering him unsolicited adivce on how to ru(i)n the US. Or has the Guardian suddenly discovered a sense of black humour?

Key point from Mike Smithson's analysis with which I entirely concur. In 1992, we told people Labour would hurt them and we wouldn't. but the worst years for repossessions was 1992-93.

Finally, while economic optimism for the country as a whole remains low - 66% think the country will fare badly next year, the second lowest Populus have recorded in five years, economic optimism for people’s personal financial position has become positive. 51% think them and their family will do well financially in the next year with 44% thinking they will do badly. In contrast people’s expectations for their own financial future back in July was strongly negative and this switch could be a big factor in the government’s recovery.

It does, however, also highlight a vulnerability. What if Labour’s recovery is based on people’s expectation that they themselves won’t suffer in the downturn… but then they do? That gap between expections and what is actually likely to happen in an economic downturn raises the question of what will happen when people’s expectations hit reality…

Over time polls make some kind of sense, becaue the errors in each one are about the same - so the trends have some validity.

However, as more than half the people polled didn't say who they would vote for - there is a massive latent pool to upset the balance.

And around bounces and reverses is when is when I would read least into any poll - as these times have the most impact on respondents behavour, rathen than on their intentions.

Labour were doing so increadibly badly, I suspect more of their natural supporters have declared, rather than (artificially) reserving judgement.

I am also pleased with Sam R that the gap has narrowed albeit for different reasons.
I hope it will shake the Tories out of their complacency.

We really really need to pin some of the blame on Brown. He didn't cause the crisis but he's made it worse.

Good post John Moss.We are at the beginning of a recession not the end.Cameron was very good on Today this morning he sounded far more assured than either Brown or Darling. Gordon Brown is spending his time borrowing more money and telling the rest of the world what to do, the likelehood is he will fail and then I think there will be a reckoning with the British people which will not be to his advantage.
We do however have a bit of a problem with Osborne. He lacks gravitas on the economy and the media narrative is against him. I'm torn between resisting those calling for him to go (many of whom have no interest in the welfare of the Conservative party)or joining them and finding a more credible replacement.

Perhaps, a rogue poll. The next one will tell.

Or perhaps, the patient has just had the medicine and perhaps has an exaggerated opinion of its potential effectiveness. When the pain bites, the doctor might get the blame. It all depends whether the patient is well on the road to recovery in 2010.

Or, perhaps, you aren't being right wing enough. Propose lower taxes, lower spending, harden your line on immigration and the EU, and you'll see a swing in your direction.

I don't comment on here much any more because I get so disgusted with the juvenile name-calling. Not one of the posters making snide remarks about the shadow chancellor manage to go higher in the argument than a yah-boo level. I wonder how many of them actually joined the roar of applause Osborne got in last year's magical presentation at Conference. Short memories some people have. Osborne is reputed to be very clever, and I believe that to be true and what is needed, the Labour lot would love to get rid of him, that aspect never comes into the "thinking" of the yar boo gang. I am sure labour plotters are pleased with their actions though.

Osborne is the problem and not the solution. Those who have criticised Cameron and Osborne for being spin and no substance do, contrary to Malcolm's claims, have an interest in the welfare of the Conservative Party.

The voters simply agree with us and do not trust Cameron and Osborne on the economy. I would not invest in a financial institution run by Osborne. He is unqualified to run a corner shop never mind the British economy.

It is time that the mindless loyalists wake up, smell the coffee and admit that there is a huge problem. The party needs real men of substance at the top, not a a couple of Westminster villagers with puff CVs and no real world experience.

Gwendolyn, most people are too busy running businesses or public services to join the party hacks and lobbyists at party conference. The conference political junkies and not representative of party members or supporters. You are typical of these people who are out of touch with the concerns of the voters. Please note that real people do not watch or remember party conference speeches.

Go to local pub in a target seat and ask the regulars what they think of George Osborne. If you went to mine, you would get a nasty surprise. They think that Cameron and Osborne are "posh twits" whose family wealth shields them from the pain of the recession.

Brown is having one of those 'I won the lottery without buying a ticket' moments. The problem is that in this rather strange reality that has befallen him, someone needs to wake the public up properly, rather than letting them dose until they hit the snooze button again when he calls the next GE (whenever that may be...)

"We really really need to pin some of the blame on Brown. He didn't cause the crisis but he's made it worse."

RichardJ for you to come up with a statement like that sums up the failure of Osborne to do his job.

I am impressed with resident leftie's post above for a sensible and intelligent analysis.
As for the anti-Ossie brigade, your paranoia makes me time and time again believe he is in the right place. Like most of The UK, we hate Brown and wish him gone but he sticks like s**t to a blanket. When he goes George may step down as the man who helped us get rid of him. Under no circumstances should George go before then and definately stay just to spite the spiteful. "Libertarian" is not very free with his opinions, or is he not really libertarian?
Stick it to them TEAM CONSERVATIVE!!!!!!!!!!

Never did take too much notice of what the Times says. It's always been a conglomeration of biased old lefties. They want to come down to where my band plays and listen to what the real people are saying.

Paranoia, Dowding? I am not paranoid about "Ossie". I just think that a Chancellor of the Exchequer should have many years of experience of at a senior level in business or public services.

George Osborne's CV is limited to be being a researcher, adviser and speechwriter in CCHQ. He has not had to take an important managerial decision that affects the lives of others. His knowledge of business and policy is academic.

I would rather have Black Sabbath singer who has made his own money rather than inherited it. There are, however, plenty of MPs on the Conservative benches who have the necessary experience. Time for a change!

Give us a break Libertarian! When are you going to raise the debate above the juvenile name calling to which Gwendolyn refers. As regards your implication that you actually care about the Conservative Party I've yet to see one supportive post about anything the party has done in months.
This thread is sadly becoming a typical example of endless carping from a mostly anonymous bunch of whingers who sit on the sidelines achieving nothing.

The scandal of our electoral system is that if Labour had a 6% lead they would be heading for a big majority.

In the 80's voters blamed Maggie for the Falklands Invasion but gave her high marks for their recovery. I suspect Cameron is up against that same problem where the voters are impressed with Browns handling of the crisis even though they agree that he is partly to blame.

Very difficult for any Opposition Leader to compete with the mega publicity that Brown is getting with world visits etc etc etc. Best for everyone to hold their nerve and for the Tories to stay true to their principles that tax cuts should be funded.A consistent principled line will in the end play well with the electorate plus the siren call that post election, Brown will have to raise taxes i.e the tax con line. Won't work immediately - but has good medium/long term traction in my view.

Malcolm never answers my points. He just accuses critics of Cameron and Osborne of name calling. I challenge him to give examples of Osborne's qualifications to run the economy. Working for CCHQ is not enough.

BTW Malcolm, it was Dave who started the name calling. Here is a typical example from his party conference speech in Birmingham.

"Many people wrongly believe that the Conservative Party is all about freedom....But freedom can too easily turn into the idea that we all have the right to do whatever we want, regardless of the effect on others. That is libertarian, not Conservative - and it is certainly not me."

That was a pathetic attempt to smear libertarians as libertines. David Willetts is another regular offender with his "Conservatives are libertarians with families" line. Libertarians have responsibilities and families too.

Are libertarians welcome in Cameron's Conservative Party, as they were under Thatcher and Major? If not, we will join and donate to another party, e.g. UKIP or the Lib Dems.

Loyalty works both ways, Mr Dunn. Unthinking obedience to the party line should be as out-dated as communism and fascism.

Cameron should move Osborne to party chairman that is where his real talents lie. If we go into the next election with Osborne as Shadow Chancellor we are asking the electorate to entrust their and their families prosperity and this nations finances to a man who has never had a proper job and has a degree in history. I very much want a Conservative government and Cameron as PM but when push comes to shove even I couldn't take such a leap of faith. Obama countered the inexperience charge by surrounding himself with experience proven people and that is what Cameron should do. It is time for David Cameron to decide whether he really does want to be Prime minister because keeping Osborne as SC will condem him to be the Conservative Neil Kinnock.

Although I want us to win the next general election I am frustrated because I just do not think the shadow cabinet is the strongest it could be. Names that come to mind Grieve, Osborne, Duncan and Spelman none of them are in the jobs they should be. Cameron is the person who appoints people to their briefs and I am questioning his judgement right now.


He is handicapped in that people like Redwood and Clarke won't come back and prefer backbench life to frontbench rough and tumble. The real people who have the experience don't want to be a part of it any more. It suggests a deeper and more profound disillusionment than one which is so easily fixed by Cam inviting heavyweights back. The problem is, he won't do so, and they wouldn't come. Hague is the best they've got and as leader he did include people who now feel excluded and have turned in on themselves. Now that we have only a 60-odd majority to get down to ground zero it shouldn't be that difficult, but we lack not only the heavyweights but the will to bring them back.

Cameron needs to decide what he wants - government of all the talents or oblivion in opposition. Personally I think he doesn't actually want to be in government - if this is the case the problem is deeper than just whether or not Osborne is a liability.

Mike Smithson's looked at the raw data behind the Populus poll, he suggests that the rise in Labour's numbers is due to them polling better in Scotland, rather than better across the country.

Dave B - We still have to win in Scotland to take office properly. A lot of the positive comments on this thread are seeing the devil in the detail - like I was, I'll admit, on Saturday and Sunday - but this is a post-Glenrothes/interest rate cut poll so it is up to date with current events.

The problem with looking at detailed readings in the poll is that the people "out there" will look at the overall result, just like they did at Glenrothes when people were pointing out it was a Labour safe seat that had previously voted Communist. People see the Tory lead shrinking past the point where an overall majority is possible and begin to get into "headless chicken mode". It is Cameron who should be in hcm because he needs to do something worthy of the airtime or bandwidth that it costs us to put out. The party is too complacent and a few bad polls should either cause Cameron to put up or shut up.

We still have to win in Scotland to take office properly.

You can wish all you like, but it won't happen. You can't make the Scots like you in 18 months - it's that simple. The next Tory government will only have a few seats in Scotland. Nothing can be done about that - it's a fact.

People see the Tory lead shrinking past the point where an overall majority is possible and begin to get into "headless chicken mode".

That's their problem, not the Party leadership's. Cameron et al can't start running around after the babies as soon as they start throwing their toys out of the pram/bawling their eyes out.

Look at Labour. They wouldn't oust Brown when things were at their worst and he was twiddling his thumbs. They're still hungry for office, whereas too many Tories see it as a right they should inherit so are free to cause as much mayhem as they like because their personal views aren't implimented to the full.

Might it be possible, please, to set up a blog specially for those carrying out a vendetta against G Osborne and limit their participation to that channel only. They are really getting mighty tedious and seem to find it impossible to change the subject. This constsnt harping on the same theme, what ever the subject, should perhaps more properly be referred to the Labour Party, rather than residing here and giving the likes of Andrew Pearce of the DT the opportunity to proclaim how the `Tories` want Osborne out. We usually rely on the Parliamentary Party to behave in this sort of way before an election. They don`t really need any help.

@John Parkes

If Osborne was doing a good job, we would not be complaining. The polls show that the voters are not impressed either.

For the record, I think that Eric Pickles, Michael Gove, Nick Herbert and Dominic Grieve are performing well. I would like to see prominent roles for proven businessmen like Adam Afriye and the under-rated Stephen O'Brien.

The problem is that too many frontbenchers are underperforming. Maude, Letwin and Willetts are invisible. When was the last time we saw an inspiring performance by the Party Chairman on television? She should be a leading figure in the attack on the government.

Even William Hague's performance (who was my favourite Tory) is inconsistent - possibly due to his outside interests distracting his attention from his brief. He is failing, probably under Cameron's instructions, to campaign against the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty by stealth.

Some of the posters here recognised that the Shadow Cabinet lackled necessary experience many months ago. The reaction of the "loyalists" is to crucify for "telling it as it is".

Voters are not stupid. They have seen the Conservatives flounder during the economic crisis and the recent polls reflect that fact. How low do the polls have to go before Cameron shows decisive leadership and reshuffles his team so that it looks like a Government-in-waiting?

Libertarian @16,32

Ok, but do admit that this grinding on appears daily under every conceivable heading. You might be right. Who am I to judge? Clearly you are basing your argument on facts denied to the likes of me. Even so there surely must be some accepted abbreviation you can use to start your post (perhaps AGOT or anti-George-Osborne-Tendency)then leave us to imagine the rest. It`s new ideas we are looking for isn`t it, rather than constantly droning on in a predictable way, harping on the same old tune? We`ve got the point now.

Ah, the Osborne effect.

Can we have a Shadow Chancellor with some experience of real life please?

Louise - we have not "won" in Scotland for over 45 years. It is unlikely we will start doing so now. If winning in Scotland is a precondition for taking office "properly", we will face many more years of Labour government.

Crunching the raw data shows that we have an 11% lead in England & Wales - almost double the headline figure from the poll. The data appears to confirm the view that the recent surge for Labour is due to increased likelihood to vote amongst Labour supporters, possibly coupled with a swing towards Labour in Scotland. If this is correct, Labour are piling up votes where they don't need them and a poll in the marginals is likely to show a better picture for the Conservatives.

By the way, Populus' methodology tends to produce better figures for Labour than most other pollsters.

My personal view is that the majority of the public have not yet realised how bad this recession will be. Right now they think Brown has saved the economy and the worst of it is over. When they realise that it is only just beginning and the ecomomic situation is going to get much worse, things will look very different.

As I have always said, regardless of lead, we should be optimistic but not complacent.

Poor old George he really is taking the heat at the moment. I agree with those who say he is in the wrong job BTW. However he has plenty to offer, and will be a fixture of the party for many years to come. Lets not distroy the bloke for being in the wrong Job...Dave should move him. In the end Dave is to blame for wanting his buddy close at hand. Well Dave keep George I like the guy but move him to a Job that he is suited for please.

Hear, hear, John Parkes. If most AGOTs read George's input (barring one yacht trip) it's actually very, very good. Everything people want to hear is there in the Conservative rhetoric, however there is a media bias that weights the reporting.

For evidence, see today's 5Live... Tories announce a tax cutting announcement, Labour quickly say they've their own one on the way (unfunded) though no details are available, and the listener question is "what do you think of Labour's tax cut announcement?"...!!

And people wonder why the Cons don't scream new policies every two minutes upon demand...

The Conservative 'brand' so carefully crafted by David Cameron has only superficial voter appeal and is tissue paper thin. When the Labour government are buffeted by bad news stories or Gordon Brown is portrayed in the media as dithering or unpopular the Tory party's poll ratings soar, but this would be true for any opposition party. Without attactive policies and a credible front bench team the best hope for the Tory party is to pray for government cock-ups. Sir Bob Worcester's Iron Triangle is as true as it ever was and even granting Cameron the perception of a charismatic leader does anyone really believe the Tories are economically competent or a united party when George Osborne is both silent and invisible, and Cameron allows one of his best players (David Davis) to gather dust on the back benches?

My prognosis about two months ago was that Brown would get a good press up to the Glenrothes by-election and the crisis (in which he played a major part in causing) has given the media that opportunity. It was important that Brown wasn't toppled by any of the internal plots being formulated and could continue in place to be a lame duck Labour Leader to be beaten at the next General Election.

The plots have been seen off.
Gordon is confirmed in position.
The assault on him will start soon and probably crank up in the New Year - though I suppose there is a possibility of him being drawn again into a destructive will he/won't he scenario on a Spring General Election
Either way I am convinced the Tories will win the next General Election comfortably whenever it is called.

In resonse to Peter Harrison's points it is worth noting that Labour won the Glenrothes by election with a nasty, "negative scaremongering verging on dishonesty" campaign (Herald) which had nothing whatsoever to do with Westminster or UK wide issues. The result had no implication for the wider UK picture, though Labour spin will try to suggest that it was super Gordon's intervention wot won it (or super Sarah's). Nope. Not true. To put this into context the SNP increased its vote by 50% despite a dirty vicious campaign against its candidate and the Labour majority was slashed (despite Tories and LibDems voting Labour in large numbers - which of course wont happen at a GE)
Labour spinners are building on sand here and it wont last.

Actually, Pete L, oppositions don't always fare well when the govt is getting bad press. For evidence, see 1980-1992 and the past 10 years...

Cameron is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Osborne is politically toxic at the moment but if you move him it will be seized upon by Campbell & Mandelson for their virulent spin machine.

Leaders have to make the tough calls. What we shouldn't lose sight of is that Osborne is still overall a substantial asset to the party (possibly not as shadow chancellor though)

So I think that's me sitting on the fence!

Keep the faith Malcolm! I thought osborne should go - until the yacht incident. He has had to raise his game - particularly with the public, and I think it is starting to show (in a positive way).

Even if you are on the fence, note that Brown has absolutely nothing to say of his own - he has old tractor stats and critcism of the tories -- don't give him material to work with, let him starve!

I would like to see a bit more criticism of Brown, but as he says almost nothing, what can you say?

One area that noone seems to have picked up on is his endless calls for international co-ordiantion (in clunky lefty monolithic way) - I support an 'avalance management' approach to boom/bust, don't wait for the big one, be prepared to deliberately trigger (carefully managed) small ones so a big correction is never needed... (I assume everyone accepts that boom/bust cannot actually be abolished).

Imagine what will happen if brown gets his uniform international regulation in place and then the big bust hits... 'the perfect bust'... total wipeout for everyone everywhere at precisely the same moment...

Brown is completely wrong and dangerous - leaving his failure to chance is just too risky.

Todays PMQs pretty much sums up how Dave's managing to lose his win. The economy is THE issue at the moment, and yet he didn't have a single thing to say about it.

Instead he started an unseemly tussle over the corpse of a toddler.

Is this a man who really looks like the next PM ? I don't think so.

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