Has this been the main driver of their ratings dive?
As we finally get to the Easter weekend perhaps now is a good time to reflect on the dramatic change in the political climate in the past three weeks when everything that could go wrong seems to have done so for the Tories.
To me the most crucial element was the budget with the introduction of the 45 pence tax rate for those at the top of the earning ladder. This was always going to be a gamble at a time of cut backs and austerity and with hindsight all the other of Osborne’s moves were going to be measured against it.
Thus the impact of grannytax saga and the heated pasty affairs were magnified because apparently at the same time Osborne was giving special treatment to the very rich.
The Michael Ashcroft poll that came out earlier this week had dreadful news for the blue team with some hard comparisons on questions asked earlier in the month by Populus.
Writing of the Tories Ashcroft noted:
In one week…we are:
down 6 points at 37% on being “competent and capable”,
down 6 points on being “honest and principled” (27%),
down 9 points on having “a good team of leaders” (37%),
down 7 points on having “clear ideas to deal with Britain’s problems” (37%)
down 8 points on being “for ordinary people, not just the well off” (now a shocking 23%)
These are big changes and suggest that the effort on brand de-toxification by the Tories has moved several steps back.
It is very hard to see how, even with the boundary changes, a majority is possible.
When we look back after the next election I wonder if it will be said that it was Osborne’s 45p gamble wot did for his party?