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I wish they'd stop all these polls.
They are totally distracting and pointless when the only poll that counts is the one we ain't getting.

I put it to you, that people being asked in these polls are LYING in an effort to convince our dictator to condescend back to the real world and place his neck on the electoral line.

Of course he won't because he's a lily-livered, yellow backed scaredy cat, chicken of the highest order who will be PASTED at the General Election by the same people adding their names to YouGov and the like to help oust him, it, them.

What the bloody hell is going on?

All that media gloss on Brown and they're still an average 4% behind the Tories? This is as good as it will get for Labour - the post-Xmas misery will be a tragedy for many people, but at least it will be a well-deserved death warrant for Nu Lab.

I think the pollsters are asking the wrong question or the wrong people.

"What the bloody hell is going on?"

The Tory Party are not listening to poll after poll that says the people do not see Osborne as a better replacement to help the economy.

You can saying people are lying. Or you can call them stupid. Or you can ignore the consistent pattern that has emerged in the polls. Or you can discuss amongst yourselves how talented Osborne is.

Or you could try listening and present a shadow chancellor who the people know and trust, to convince them to boot this shambles of a Government out of power, once and for all.

Bold Tories like Boris and Ken spring government traps. The rest of the Cameroons timidly sidestep them and therefore are always letting the government set the agenda, which is fatal.

People are confused and frightened.

They don't understand the credit crunch and they are scared that the economy is now visibly tanking.

Once Brown's 'stimulus package' is shown to be a waste of money people will start looking for serious and plausible answers.

I hope we have them ready.

For goodness sake Rugfish , grow up !

You stay just as you are, Rugfish. A Troll is always a Troll. gezmond007, a queen among troll queens,

This is now serious.

We have thrown away a 20% lead

Someone needs to tell Osborne to spend more time on yachts!

The next GE will be fought on the ECONOMY (stupid!)

We need to beef up our treasury team. We are being outgunned by that pesky Vince Cable.

I suggest Redwood/Clarke dream team.

I think Rugfish is simply telling it like it is, and I understand his frustration 100%!

What's going on?

People who abandoned Labour while Brown couldn't get anything right are shifting back to them now he's looking self-assured and boasting about saving the world. It's not solid support and is likely to swing back to the Tories once the media narrative changes (which it inevitably will).

Everyone is massively over-reacting to the polls. The odd one percent here, two percent there is statistically pretty insignificant and nothing to worry about.

Essentially Tory support is high 30s to low 40s, Labour's is low to mid 30s, Lib Dems are somewhere around 15. That is unlikely to change much between now and the election.

It's that general election, by the way, that the Conservatives should be focusing their efforts on, instead of endlessly fretting about newspaper polls.

I suggest Redwood/Clarke dream team.

Only a dream-team from Labour's POV.

I could live with one of them.

It's that general election, by the way, that the Conservatives should be focusing their efforts on, instead of endlessly fretting about newspaper polls.

But when people are unhappy with the leadership they need SOME reason to justify moving people around. "Bad" polls are all they have.

The "do-nothing" tag is sticking somewhat, the Tories need to counter it by labelling Labour as the "waste everything, achieve nothing" party.

Another average poll for us - Rather worse than the last, rather better than the next.

Thank goodness we are following the right strategy with the right strategists or I would be getting worried.

Mandelson and Campbell have managed to regain control of the media narrative. Much of the electorate has bought the line that the recession is caused by America and fat cat bankers. They have also bought the line that Brown is leading the world - after all, sections of the media have been pushing that out incessantly.

In addition to this, most people don't feel too bad right now. Their mortgage is down significantly, fuel prices are down and some shops are using the VAT cut as Brown propaganda, e.g. my local baker which has a sign up saying that sachets of ketchup are now free (they were 5p) due to the VAT change with "Thanks Gordon" in big letters alongside a picture of Brown. Many people think this is as bad as it gets. And the numbers on future debt are so large they are meaningless to most people. To make matters worse, Brown's repetition of the charge that we would do nothing, despite being clearly false, is sticking in people's minds.

I don't think it is the fault of Cameron and Osborne that we no longer set the media narrative. In a crisis the Government always has an advantage - it can act. The opposition can only offer words. Even if the opposition are right and the Government are wrong, it takes a while for that to sink in.

The good thing is that, desite all of that, we are still in the lead. Unless Brown is very lucky, his mistakes with the economy will come home to roost in the next few months. Even if they don't, we know he only does well in the public mind when there is a crisis.

Cameron is our biggest electoral asset. There is plenty of evidence that our polling position improves the more media exposure he gets. There is also plenty of evidence that the polls swing towards the Conservatives in an election campaign. I still think we will win whenever an election is called. I suspect that this is as good as it gets for Brown.

When we were recording huge leads, I said we should not be complacent. Now that our lead is reducing, we should not panic. Remain focussed and remember that Labour are our enemies, not fellow Conservatives.

I always smile at how jittery and frightened the poor denizens of ConHome can get.

1. Cameron is elected and we move ahead in the polls - DELIGHT!

2. Brown takes over from Blair and moves ahead in the polls - DISASTER, who can we sack/knife/deselect/impeach!

3. Cameron holds his nerve, doesn't give in to the headbangers' calls to lurch to the right...is proved to have been correct... and takes us to a record poll lead - DELIGHT

4. The largest economic shock wave the world has ever seen slams into us, Brown is able to walk the stage and portray himself as a world economic leader, the Conservative poll lead shrinks but we remain consistently ahead in every single poll despite world events - DISASTER, who can we sack/knife/deselect/impeach!

Come on you lot - if you want to regularly comment on a political analysis website, you need to learn a little bit about politics. One major lesson is - events dear boy, events.

People who are suggesting that we somehow 'threw away a 20 point lead' appear not to own televisions. They appear not to have noticed a rather large event.

I personally am delighted that, despite what could have been designed as the perfect Brown Event - an outside (he argues) event that causes an economic shock that helps him to cover up his unravelling economic legacy and enables him to play to his ONLY strength, his supposed economic genius - and his bounce has barely reached 35%, our lead is still a solid one, and we are still within spitting distance of the magic 40%.

Cameron et al are doing exactly the right thing - don't waste all your ammo during the months that Brown was strutting the stage and the narrative was that he was saving the world. Wait for that narrative to start unravelling (which is it), then pour down the withering fire (which we are starting to do).

Knifing your own front bench team in the back in some sort of panic response to Events strikes me as the kind of suicidal lunacy that has kept us out of power for the longest period since the War!

Given the choice between an incumbent and an opposition offering a broadly similar tax/spend approach, people will reluctantly go for the incumbent. Boldness is required. Not the recklessness of Brown and Darling throwing money at VAT (supported by Ken Clarke) but a right-wing alternative with a clear message to cut public expenditure drastically, and cut taxes to go with it, particularly for our job-creating entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The 20% lead was because the people didn't want Brown and Labour governing over what was seen as the most pressing concern at the time with issues like immigration, schools, crime, breakdown of society, family, cost of living! if anything it was inflation that was driving people to us.

The narrative has changed, the most pressing issue is jobs, the economy, government support etc. When life is good and people are doing well they want less of the state and want to focus on developing quality of life, but! When life is bad they want the state to look after them, this is the problem, Labour is offering massive state spending to support and look after people, even though it may bankrupt the country in the future, people are more concerned about the here and now. Labours actions have been instant in big state action and big debt. Although we keep banging on about the risks this is going to have for our country in the future, no one cares, so either we can cry over the polls, or we can continue with our developing economic recovery alternative.

There is not much Cameron or the party can do while the government is chucking money at the problem, its Christmas, people want all the help they can get at this time, although the VAT reduction was marginal I'm not going to lie in saying I haven't enjoyed seeing my Direct Debits reduce in price, my subs reduce in price, products across the board "look" cheaper, coupled with petrol back in the sub 90p range, it all psychological but that small increase does make a large difference in "perceived" value as no one is used to seeing products get cheaper, frankly it was a master stroke in that sense, even though petrol has nothing to do with them, it's can feel like the government is making life cheaper to help.

What can we do? not much to be honest, we just have to bide our time, the wheels will come off sooner or later, but this means the time is now for Labour to have the best chances for a good election result. Because during spring its only going to get worse, the government will have played all its cards and we'll all then feel the full effect of the recession.

And don't forget Smithson's Golden Rule:



"In every single Con-Lab contest going right back to the 1980s the most accurate poll is the one showing Labour in the least favourable position"

Smithson points out that:
'The “Golden Rule” has operated in every single general election, EU election, London Mayoral election and in by elections where there has been polling right back to the 1980s'

After considering how many supposed "rogue polls" there have been, I'm beginning to doubt whether they are rogue or not. The fact is many people now see us as the "do-nothing" party, and Cameron as a lightweight.

People would rather have a party which gives them short-term comfort, rather than long-term security. The short-term outlook is what got us into this mess. We need to get across the message we need long term security. Cameron needs to talk about what could happen with this Government's decisions. No holds barred.

I remain confident that we will win the next election.

And don't forget Smithson's Golden Rule:



"In every single Con-Lab contest going right back to the 1980s the most accurate poll is the one showing Labour in the least favourable position"

Smithson points out that:
'The “Golden Rule” has operated in every single general election, EU election, London Mayoral election and in by elections where there has been polling right back to the 1980s'

(sorry for double post - hanging computer and hit refresh!!)

James, that is a truly excellent post! Peter Harrison - as for your baker, I'd remove my custom from him if he were MY local baker - and I would tell him exactly why I was doing so.

Totally agree with TC and the media narrative being with the Labour party at the moment. It is time for a swing back to the Tories and Brown is in for a hiding. The media could be murdering Brown over the economy now if they so desired. It won't be long before it becomes trendy to attack Brown again. Don't forget that even though the media have eased up on Brown, he is still 4 points behind us in the poll of polls.

"Knifing your own front bench team in the back in some sort of panic response to Events strikes me as the kind of suicidal lunacy "

James, if its events dear boy events, then these events should have benefited the Conservative opposition, but even if these events didn't have a clear cut benefit for the Conservatives, it then comes down to how you use the events to benefit your position. Unfortunately Osborne failed on all counts.

But as to a panic response, some of us have been pointing out for a long time, on this board, before this crisis struck, that the Conseratives were failing to put down warning markers on the economy, worse cosying up to Labour's spending plans, which has left the Conservatives without much credibility and badly positioned. And who do we have to thank for this ? Osborne!

Oh dear, what to do about this USELESS Shadow Cabinet and leadership............

The "ConHome theory"- that Labour will become more unpopular as the economy worsens- is absolute nonsense.

We have just seen a run on a bank, a trillion pound public debt, soaring unemployment, and the £ devalued, and what has happened ?

Our poll lead has gone from 25% to 1%-5%.

Why ?

1.Rank complacency and arrogance from the leadership, who bet the house on the stupid 'proceeds of growth' policy, the equally stupid 'he did not fix the roof' soundbite, all relayed by the totally overated [apart from the electorate, that is] George Osborne.

2. We have hugged Labour too close, become too apolitical, and appeared frankly too lazy and half hearted. Who can remember the last time a Tory MP performed well on Question Time or Any Questions? I heard Greg Clark MP on the latter a few weeks ago and he was ABYSMAL- frankly you would not have realised that he was a Tory from his answers. It was a good job that Dimbleby introduced him. Little Gove is even worse. We are not interested in his witty repartee in Parliament when only a couple of anoraks are tuned in- what is our education policy at the moment ? Its as muddled as our economic policy. The only policy that is currently clear is our banning of chocolate oranges.

The message from Conservative members to the leadership should be clear. We expect to win. We expect to win well. If we don't, it won't be Iain Dale, Ian Martin and Con Home and all the other Westminster Bubblers who will be holding you responsible. It will be ordinary Conservative members.

And Cameron and Osborne and Gove and Vaizey and Hunt etc etc will be finished.

Over to you, lads.


Excellent post. These quiverers do the party no favours (that is of course if they are supporters?).

Moving the shadow chancellor at any time would hand Brown vindication for his economic policy in the public eyes. Doing it 18 months before the latest date of the election would be sheer lunacy when the election will focus on the economy.

In anycase Osborne has done much to put the party where it is and it seems many have short memories. The shrill Labour voices against him only show how much they value his head!

Furthermore, in such a crisis Governments will always benefit when they:

Cut Taxes
Cut Interest Rates significantly
Make promises (often false that our basic living standards are safe).
Throw money at the problem.

What loses Government votes:

House Repossessions
Declining value of earnings
Declining value of investments.
Rising interest rates

Brown has given the country the former in the second half of 2008. I suspect in 2009 we will see most if not all of the latter.

"Rank complacency and arrogance from the leadership, who bet the house on the stupid 'proceeds of growth' policy,"

I sometimes wonder if copying Labour's spending plans plan was hatched, not because of complacency or arrogance, but because it was just beyond the capabilities of Osborne to argue for anything different.

Sally - I have already done so. Sadly they are part of a large chain operating in the north west, predominantly in Labour supporting areas, so I doubt my objection will make any difference. But they won't be getting any business from me or my company for the forseeable future.

It’s Stockholm Syndrome. The electorate is being held hostage to fortune and Labour’s spending it.

‘Captives begin to identify with their captors initially as a defensive mechanism.’

Increasingly, voters turn back to Labour out of fear and desperation.
‘Small acts of kindness by the captor are magnified’

2.5% on VAT. Utterly irrelevant drivel of course but still an act of apparent kindness.

‘ since finding perspective in a hostage situation is by definition impossible.’

Because no one has a Scooby as to how bad this is going to get.

‘Rescue attempts are also seen as a threat, since it's likely the captive would be injured during such attempts.’

Otherwise known as David Cameron and his flashbangs.

Well done Peter! In these times voting with ones feet can be most effective - even if it IS part of a big chain.

Our poll lead has gone from 25% to 1%-5%.

Why ?

You also left out the part about how Brown was so ridiculously incompetant but now appears to may voters to be a "real PM".

You also neglect to mention that 25% was one poll, not all polls. Can you remember the range at the time?

The message from Conservative members to the leadership should be clear. We expect to win. We expect to win well.

The response will be, "how can you expect us to win well when you pull the knives out as soon as the polls dip?"

Mandelson's policy of re-peating simple slogans is working. Helping hard working families and small businesses vs the do nothing party.

Cameron comes across a shrill and smug (flip flopping to score petty points). Osborne even worse. This is Hague's time but he blew it by getting the crown to early.

Desperate times require dour politicians of substance. I'm afraid Dave and George look to powder puff to risk trusting with your job, mortgage and future...

Harsh but true

Told you so.

All those hubristic outbursts over ridiculous poll leads. Had to end in nemesis.

Some of us are old enough to remember the Telegraph, Saturday 10th October 1959, "Labour finished for a generation" or the consensus of Fleet Street (Oh, happy days!), 2nd April 1966: Tories finished for a generation.

What goes around, comes around.

And that's not trolling.

It all went sour because Ken Clarke was too Euro to enstool. That would have kept Hague for heir or spare. Now, at this juncture, a previously-undefeated Hague leading the Opposition wouldn't be making the hames the present shower are. He can even talk in English, rather than ansafone mediaspeak. But you reap what you sow.

Wotta lotta rattled Tories!

Five more years?

It's getting to look that way.

"...we are getting into the period when I’m slightly wary of polling results anyway as Christmas shopping starts to skew the people who are at home to take phone calls. " Anthony Wells, UK Polling Report

Well done John Leonard for an excellent post!

Brown is the incumbent with a plan. Reduce taxation, reduce interest rates & promise Government help for everyone - Banks, small businesses, people with mortgages whilst maintaining massive public spending.

Q. What is there not to like?

A. The consequences of 11 years of Brown at the Treasury and his latest reckless electoral bribe.

At the moment, the recession is a 'phoney war'. It sounds bad but doesn't feel that bad - yet!

Wait for 2009. More and more bad news, job losses, repossessions, business closures etc. It will be bad. Really bad.

Q. And who will voters blame for such misery?

A. The Government whose plan failed.

Not much we can do at the moment. Dave's 'live within means' economics is right. But it doesn't compete with Gordie's Government pay out bonanza.

Patience and faith are required. Don't attack the Leadership - that's just what Campbell, Mandelson and the BBC want.

We need to get on the front foot - I note that Fred Thompson has a first class vignette video up (version at www.order-order.com). As Guido says, this is JUST as applicable to the UK. This is something that Ken Clark could do - and do well.

Come on CCO, get cracking on it!

Whomever said "the economy stupid" (Yes I know Bill Clinton said it first)
It has to be this way why? Because we allow it. There are other things to win this election on. As I have said elsewhere, some things do not have a price tag. Civil liberties, sovereignty and the right to self determination. The fact that Europe voted against our opt outs on the work week should be proof that no opt out is safe. They are not worth the paper they are written on. (Ireland please take note!) I worry about these things far more then my bank balance. Maybe because I have not alot to lose. But even watching the news of the falling pound, the focus is on the holiday makers no longer getting their moneys worth. Who can afford a holiday? No one I know! Am I living in a different country as everyone else? I am beginning to wonder.
As far as the economy, Cameron seems to be carrying the flag recently, and a bit of flag carrying from Ken (yes I know he's controversial on Europe, that bothers me too) where is George?
I do believe our future depends on this next few months, 17 if we must, hopefully sooner.
Where is the passion for OTHER things I felt from the Convention? Where is Baroness Warsi on fixing our broken society? This country and the people in it need to regain their passion and let's face it, it's hard to get passionate about economics. I agree as someone else here said on another thread, bring out the people from the shadow government. Where are they all?

I've just resigned my Party membership as it has become clear that the Party is drifting back to the hard right again, after a golden period under Cameron's leadership, during which it was starting to do what was necessary to win back the centre ground.

Call me a troll, if you like, but having paid my membership fee this year I'm as entitled to contribute as anyone else! There really is no mystery about why the opinion polls are looking less good for the Tories. The credit crunch presented Cameron with what should have been the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the Party really had changed, that there would be no going back to the harsh, unsympathetic Tory Party of old. (I am referring to perceptions here; I accept the reality was often different.) He missed the opportunity, largely it would seem because he decided to take the advice of George Osborne who has chosen the worst possible moment, historically, to offer an orthodox Thatcherite economic platform. This, together with Osborne's yacht antics in the summer, have planted a large seed of doubt in voters' minds about whether the Tories have, in fact, changed.

I don't know how many times the Tory Party has to learn the same lesson, but the blunt truth is that Thatcherism simply does not appeal to large numbers of voters, who see it as too dogmatic, naive about the efficacy of free markets, and lacking in compassion. The Party needs to project a much more pragmatic, non-ideological face to the electorate. As a start, I strongly suggest that Cameron gets some better economic advice from people who understand the difference between inflation and deflation.

Dean you are totally right. The polls have started to go wrong since Cameron drifted back to the right and made the party seem as if it wasn`t the all new Conservative Party but the same old nasty party.
Cameron needs to get back to Liberal conservatism. Start putting forward policy`s to improve public services not cut them and some clear environmental polices that would energise the young voters the way he did when he first become leader.

I would agree with James' excellent posts.

Moreover, everybody who keeps calling for more economic pledges from Cameron forgets that Cameron can't possibly know what the state of the exchequer will be when he takes over. It would be politically weak to commit to a range of expensive tax cut/spending etc measures, that become unaffordable with Brown's scorched earth policy. Thatcher will testify to that (union 'sop' pledges in 1978).

Clearly the main problem we have is being able to get our message across through the biased media which decided to portray Gordon Brown as our world saviour after he gave his Conference speech, and it has stuck to that line.
Today the BBC's top story was the superhero announcing the withdrawal of British troops as though he had nothing to do with this country going to war in the first place, just as he had nothing to do with the economic crisis he is now portrayed to be sorting out.
I despair of this country we once called great.

None so deaf as will not hear. Osborne isn't up to it. End of.

A few say Cameron is not right wing enough and a few say say he's too right wing. Hhhmm.. seems positioned about right to me then. The issue is simple - the message was diluted when Brown went on his Save the World tour of spin and the media felt obliged to report it. We are still ahead but need to realise the Labour spin machine is at work and deal with it and we need to be consistent about punching our message out. We actually have a fair starting point - we are still ahead of Labour and Labour on figures 33 to 35% which is hardly good and is reminiscent of our flatlining years ago when we were stuck on a core vote. Don't be complacent but don't be silly either.

There goes Troll-Stone again (and the UKIP-BNP trolls as well). Messrs. Cameron and Osborne are clearly rattling Labour, who ae getting personal - attacking this pair is just what Campbell and Mandelson of Fey want.

Cameron needs a shake up of the front bench in the new year - Spelman, Grieve, Lansley don't cut the mustard. The front bench need to look like a cabinet in waiting, not the supporting cast for a cartoon.

Wow - looks like troll central round here!

Especially Dean @ 18:42 - you say you resigned your membership because some other people don't like tory policies?!?!?

I left the party when michael howard supported ID cards - because I disagreed with him.

Come on Dean - where do you stand? what don't you like about the current policies?

We can all guess what others think with equal reliability (i.e. none), the only views people can present with any authority are their own - and then others can chose whether or not to beleive them...

Another faked poll at Mendelscum's behest.

Look at all the shit the government has had in recent weeks. Does anyone seriously believe they have benefitted from this?

I certainly share the suggestions of "A Banker". In addition, I would like to add, that small businesses in particular have been punished under Labour!

As for Jack Stone, our resident "troll"! He seems to think that there is no need to cut public services. But under Labour, targets and tokenism have proliferated! They are simply NOT delivering either good public services, OR sufficient measures to help reduce the severity of our recession.

And what a recession this is turning out to be. I have heard that properties will drop by a MINIMUM of 10% in value next year. Another source suggested that it could be as steep as a 30% decline. And as for unemployment, it may well rise to 9%.

We need a responsible Government back in office!

What's happening?

Mandelson's back that's what happening.

Boring, boring thread. How many times are people going to say the same things every time a poll comes out?

Stop worrying about the polls. A week is a long time in politics, and every week will be a nightmare for many in the next year or so. Labour voters will stay away from the booths, All those people who the government have tried to get to work, will be screaming foul.Nobody under 70 yrs of age knows real hardship, They are going to learn something about it soon, I can assure you the won,t like it. Tory landslide will happen.

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