Will Labour keep on being blamed for the cuts?
On the face of it the trend in the YouGov “daily” polls has been quite positive for the coalition since the Michael Gove school building programme row blew up.
This is the first big issue since Labour lost power that’s given them a real opening and the party has exploited it well. Yet so far at least we are not seeing any reaction – at least in the daily polls.
From what I can see in the papers the Sunday Times survey is the only one this weekend which means that it’s nearly a fortnight since the last non-YouGov voting intention numbers were published.
Andrew Rawnsley puts his finger on a key issue on Gove in his Observer column: “The furore around Michael Gove ought to serve as a caution to his colleagues. It illustrates how easy it is to swagger your machismo as an axeman when you are talking abstract percentages and how hard it is when you have to bring down the blade. It is one thing to type some numbers into a Whitehall spreadsheet and quite another to translate them into real cuts to real services used by real voters.”
The big question, as cuts get more specific, is whether voters will continue to buy the coalition argument that this is all because of the previous government’s profligacy.
If they don’t then maybe Labour, under a new leader, will start to get close or even over-take the Tories. But if the coalition’s “blame the last lot” rhetoric continues to resonate then Miliband or whoever will struggle.
Mr. Byrne’s welcome letter to Mr. Laws has a lot of life in it yet.