View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

Why Labour can still take heart from the latest polls

The idea that Labour could win has been implanted in the public's mind.

By George Eaton

New Statesman - Polls Guide_1267519046219

Latest poll (Sun/YouGov): Conservatives 22 seats short of a majority.

It’s a sign of how bad things have got for the Tories that the latest daily YouGov poll, showing the party’s lead back up to 7 points, has caused such relief in Conservative circles. A few weeks ago that result, which puts us on course for a hung parliament, would have triggered much doubt and anxiety.

It’s not surprising that the Tories have recovered ground after a more-than-competent spring conference and much favourable media coverage of David Cameron’s speech.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

According to Mike Smithson, the fieldwork for the poll started at 5pm on Sunday night and ended at 5pm last night, so it will also have captured some of the public reaction to Lord Ashcroft’s decision to come out as a non-dom. My guess is that, regardless of its Byzantine complexity, the Ashcroft story will damage the Tories in future polls. The public will soon sense how at odds the whole affair is with Cameron’s promise of an era of transparency and openness.

New Statesman poll of polls

New Statesman - Polls Guide_1267519396571

Labour 28 seats short of a majority.

More encouraging for Labour is the latest Independent/ComRes poll, which has the Tories ahead by only 5 points. It’s the party’s lowest lead in a ComRes poll since December 2008 and would leave Labour as the largest single party in a hung parliament.

Perhaps the most important effect of the past week’s polling is that the idea that Labour could still win the election has been implanted firmly in the public’s mind. Voters like to back a winner; they enjoy being able to say after the election that they supported the winning party. After the 1997 election, when asked who they had voted for, more people said they supported Labour than ever actually did.

The polls have also reaffirmed the government’s own belief that it can and should win this election. Andrew Rawnsley recently made the astute point that this was hardly the case with the Tories. He wrote:

In the run-up to the 1997 election, when the Conservatives had been in power for a very long time, there were a lot of Tories who were ready to lose. They were fatalistically reconciled to defeat or exhausted with office or so consumed with hatred for each other that they’d rather go down than even make a pretence that they were united.

I don’t believe this is the case with Labour. The coup attempt in January actually benefited Gordon Brown by resolving the leadership question once and for all.

Even if the Tory lead grows in the coming weeks, we can still expect this election to be competitive in a way few previously thought possible.

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.

Content from our partners
Unlocking the potential of a national asset, St Pancras International
Time for Labour to turn the tide on children’s health
How can we deliver better rail journeys for customers?

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU