Are the Tories still in their post-Hartlepool rut?

Are the Tories still in their post-Hartlepool rut?


    Or will they benefit from the UKIP leadership hiatus?

After almost three weeks without any UK national polls ICM, MORI and YouGov should be out in the next few days hopefully giving a clearer view of what the public is thinking than surveys taken at party conference time. Four years ago the end-October/early November surveys proved to be a good pointer to the election result the following June. Will the same happen this time?

  • The Tories. Are they still in their post-Hartlepool rut or have the ructions over the UKIP leadership come to Michael Howard’s aid? The new polls should tell us.
  • Labour. How damaging has the “Black Watch” deployment row been especially as it’s kept Iraq on the front pages? Will be party still be bleeding votes to the Lib Dems or are the public getting bored – both issues that the next three or four polls should help us with?
  • The Lib Dems. With Charles Kennedy and his team now being treated more seriously by the media will their poll ratings still remain high or will the by-election bounces have frittered away?
  • UKIP. Will the party still be benefitting from their 3rd place in Hartlepool or could Robert Kilroy-Silk’s struggle to seize control be a turn-off with the voters? It’s not just the Tories who’ll be watching the poll ratings closely.
  • These were the last main polls against which the new surveys should be compared.
    ICM (Oct 10) CON 30% LAB 39% LD 23%
    Populus (Oct 2) CON 28% LAB 35% LD25%
    YouGov (Oct 2) CON 29% LAB 35% LD22%
    MORI (Sep 14) CON 33% LAB 32% LD25%

    The key numbers will be the Tory shares. If the Tories have not clawed back 3-4% with ICM – figures due on Wednesday – then Michael Howard’s party is in real trouble. Same goes with YouGov which until May was showing solid Tory leads. Michael Howard needs to be eating into that 6% deficit if he is to have a chance. With each poll it’s not the actual rating we look at but whether there’s been a change and whether that is reflected across a range of surveys.

      Our prediction is that the polls will show Labour – down a bit; the LDs almost level, and the Tories making some progress. The next call we expect to make will be BUY CONSERVATIVE on the spread markets but it will take solid polling evidence before we move that far.

    The betting has been stable for weeks. These are the latest spread prices.

    Sporting Index LAB 338-346: CON 202-210: LIBD 72-77 (No change)
    IG Index: LAB 338-346: CON 208-216: LIBD 70-75 (No change)

    After the July by-elections Labour surged to 346-354 – a level we said was a good SELL. At the moment we see no value in any of the spreads.

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