Tories now open up a 7 point gap
A big boost for David Cameron’s Tory party and some better news for Gordon Brown are the main features of the first poll of 2007 – from Populus – in the Times this morning.
As the extract reproduced from the Times website shows, the shares and changes on the same poll in December are CON 39% (+5): LAB 32% (-1): LD 18% (-1).
But for the first time since David Cameron’s election a poll shows that Labour would be doing better with Gordon Brown as leader than the headline figures
This is a figure that we have tended to focus and the split is CON 39% (nc): LAB 34% (+2). Last month the Tories enjoyed a 7% gap when this questions was asked. Even better for Gordon are the shares that Populus found when it asked the same question with John Reid’s name substituted for Brown.
An element of the poll that should cause some concern in the Brown camp is the response that Populus found when it asked about whether there should be an early General Election. A total a 56% said “Yes” while 38% felt that “that the new prime minister should continue until 2009 or 2010”. The Cameron campaign to press for this seems to be resonating and might impact on how the incoming Brown government is perceived.
Generally polls only show large support for an early General Election if the mood of the country is “it’s time for change”.
For me the overall message from this survey is that Labour will continue to be perceived to be in a mess until the succession has finally been resolved and a new team and programme is in place. What happens then – Who knows? But Gordon Brown has a very major challenge on his hands.
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