How electorally sensitive is the price of petrol?
The above chart shows the average pump price for standard unleaded petrol over the past three years and one thing is striking – the high point in price in July 2008 coincided with the Tories achieving their best poll shares since the 1980s.
The price dropped sharply in the second half of last year and reached a low point in December at about the same time as most polls were pointing to a big closing of the gap with ComRes having it down to one point and ICM four points
So how critical in terms of votes is the price of petrol and what could be the impact if unleaded moves back to July 2008 levels or even worse?
A secondary issue is whether all constituencies are affected equally or are the English middle-sized towns, where many of the marginals are, going to be hit more. For it’s in these places where public transport can be very limited and where the motor car is much more important.
With several papers reporting this morning that petrol could rise to Â£1.25 a litre then changes in the above chart could be a key election predictor.