What is it about the Chancellor that boosts Tory support?
Further details from the March ICM poll in the Guardian show that while the Tories are three points behind Labour they would be running neck and neck if David Cameron was facing Gordon Brown.
The main voting intention figures, covered in the previous thread, had CON 34: LAB 37: LD 21 and are the first numbers from ICM since Cameron won the leadership where the Tories are behind.
But when asked who they would vote for if the line up was Brown/Cameron/Campbell the party shares were CON 37: LAB 37: LD 19. So while Labour stays the same the Tories get a 3% boost if Cameron is facing Brown
The three point differential with Gordon Brown as leader is not on the scale of the 6% that was recorded by Populus last week but is does further reinforce the trend.
Overall the Tories must be disappointed with the main voting intention figures – especially as it comes after the Tessa Jowell affair and the “cash for honours” sleaze allegations.
The broader Brown or Blair issue is one that has only emerged since Cameron took over the Tory leadership. For years until then poll after poll showed that Labour would be doing better under the Chancellor.
There is no clear reason why this is happening although the Gurardian also carries details of an “online focus group” where ICM sought to test views of the different leaders.
This is part of the report: “Overall, the findings suggest that while Mr Cameron is seen as new and fresh – if inexperienced – his rivals are seen as old and out of date. When voters were asked to compare the men to cars, Mr Cameron was likened to a sports car but the prime minister was a Lada or defunct Rover. In a similar scenario people in the focus group said they thought Mr Blair would be happiest at a fancy dress party – where he could hide his real self – and would “talk about anything he would think you wanted to hear”. But Mr Brown was a “tank” who would force people to do what he wanted instead of manipulating them like Mr Blair. He would drink scotch at a party – but only if someone else bought it for him..
We’ll look at this more closely when the detailed figures are out.
Meanwhile somebody is betting heavily on Gordon Brown in the Labour leadership betting. There’s been Â£5,000 on offer at 0.38/1 on Betfair for several hours.