But the attacks on Gordon Brown appear to be hitting home
In the first voting intention survey by any pollster since Gordon Brown’s budget nine days ago YouGov’s March survey for the Daily Telegraph has Cameron’s Conservatives and Labour level pegging with the Lib Dems down one point.
The shares are with changes on the last YouGov poll twelve days ago are CON 36 (-2): LAB 36 (+1): LD 18 (-1). Note that the comparisons are with the last YouGov survey not the February poll in the Daily Telegraph.
These figures are exactly the same as those found by the internet pollster on the day of David Cameron’ election as Tory leader on December 6th 2005.
Tory disappointment at the declining poll share will be partly tempered by the fact that the Cameron-Osborne strategy of focusing their attacks on Gordon Brown appears to be bearing fruit.
In a commentary on the poll under the heading “The Iron Chancellor is starting to look a little rusty” Professor Anthony King notes that Gordon Brown’s ratings are on the decline. “…a year ago, three times as many people thought Mr Brown was doing a better job as Chancellor than Mr Blair was doing as Prime Minister. That gap has now closed from 35 points in Mr Brown’s favour to only 15…In March of last year, 63 per cent of YouGov’s respondents regarded the Chancellor as one of Labour’s assets. The corresponding figure today is only 50 per cent.”
We are now able to start making an assessment of the impact the new leader has had on all three parties since the Tory changeover.
The average of all YouGov polls from September – November 2005 – the three months before Cameron was elected was CON 33%: LAB 38.5%: LD 20%. So compared with the pre-Cameron period the Tories have seen a three point improvement with Labour and the Lib Dems dropping back a couple of points each.
The change is significant and starts to look quite permanent but is certainly not as great as many Tories had hoped for. It is nowhere nearly enough for the party to win most seats at the next election – never mind having a majority.
If it had not have been for the loans crisis then Labour, surely, could have expected a budget bounce. That has not happened and there must be relief that support is being more than sustained in spite of all the bad publicity.
The problem for David Cameron, of course, is that he’s not been able to capitalise on the issue because his party has operated in a similar manner.