Tories up 3% in a week

Tories up 3% in a week

    UKIP’s decline and immigration give Howard a boost

Punters who have been backing the Tories on the spread-betting markets in the past few days have been vindicated by the latest YouGov poll in the Telegraph has the party 3% up on last Sunday. The figures are: LAB 35% (+1): CON 34 (+3): LD 22 (-3): OTH 9 (-1)

Interestingly the change has come from the Lib Dems and not Labour which has gone up.

    It might be that part of the Lib Dem totals in recent weeks have included a segment of voters who are just opposed to Tony Blair and will move to the party that seems most likely to defeat him. That looks dangerous for Labour.

This is the first survey since the Tories unveiled their plans on immigration. The total for others is less than 10% which is down from the 13% it rose to when UKIP came on the scene at the Euro Elections. A year ago “others” was at 6-7%. We don’t have a breakdown from the latest survey but it’s clear that the UKIP split with Robert Kilroy-Silk has had a huge impact on the public’s perception of that party as an electoral force.

    When tested in real elections YouGov’s record is by far the most accurate pollster only over-stating Labour and understating the Tories by one or two points. Given this Michael Howard’s party is at worst level-pegging and is probably slightly ahead of Labour.

In spite of this Howard still has a mountain to climb for the Tories to win most seats or even win an overall majority. Britain’s electoral geography is so much in Labour’s favour that on a uniform national swing Tony Blair could hold onto power even if Labour is 2-3% less than the Tories in the popular vote. Although Lib Dem targeting and tactical vote rewind could see Labour with disproportionate losses above the national swing the party stays in a very strong position.

Our call this week to buy the Tories at 192 seats looks good. It is hard to see the party getting less than 200 seats and it could do a lot better.

The Tory price has risen again on IG Index This morning’s spreads are:- LAB 355-362 (-1): CON 188-195 (+2): LDs 71-75 which means that the Tory spread is uo five seats in three days. We think that there is still value in the price. Just putting the YouGov shares into the Martin Baxter’s universal national swing calculator gives a total of 207 seats.

Mike Smithson

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