But with Gordon as leader Labour does better than with Tony Blair
A new approach in this month’s Populus poll is in the Times, published this morning, provides a better measure of what happens when those interviewed are prompted with the names of the party leaders and their reactions to what they would do if Gordon Brown became leader.
Up until now none of the pollsters has asked questions that allow the Cameron v Brown voting intention to be compared with the current Cameron v Blair. What these figures reinforce is how much better the Tories do if you link the name of the leader to the party when asking how people will vote. They also show the drag that Tony Blair has on Labour’s standing.
Clearly “Brand Cameron” is considerably more popular than “Brand Conservative” and should help the Tory leader as he seeks to develop policy themes that seem alien to many in his party.
It was interesting that in the Bromley by-election the Tory campaign material made scant reference to the leader which might have had an impact on their terrible performance.
It appears that naming Brown sees a significant number of Labour supporters switch to the Tories but that is more than made up by Lib Dems opting for Labour.
Gordon seems to be attracting back some of those Labour supporters who could not stomach Blair and switched to the Lib Dems last time. But Labour loses Tony Blair’s “personal vote” which goes in the main to the Tories.
A big strategic issue that Ming Campbell has got is that the big losers if Brown does become leader are the Lib Dems.
At a General Election the Tory branding, surely, will be based on “Cameron’s Conservatives” which is why I attach some importance to these findings. Neither Labour or the Lib Dems should do anything in their campaigning that links the name of the Tory leader to his party. Clearly things could look differently if and when Gordon Brown is actually in post.
Gordon Brown has eased a touch to 0.45/1 in the Labour leadership betting.