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12 March 2010

Tory jitters as poll lead falls to 3

Latest YouGov poll suggests Labour could remain the largest party.

By George Eaton

New Statesman - Polls Guide_1268388432834

Latest poll (Sun/YouGov): Labour 19 seats short of a majority.

The latest daily YouGov poll is out and it won’t make happy reading for David Cameron. The survey shows the Conservatives’ lead over Labour falling to just 3 points, a result that would leave Gordon Brown 19 seats short of a majority in a hung parliament.

The Tories’ advantage over Labour does seem to have narrowed significantly in the past week. As UK Polling Report’s Anthony Wells points out, the Conservative lead has been below 6 points in every YouGov poll this week.

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How to explain this latest dip? I doubt that the Ashcroft affair did significant damage to the Tories. What seems more likely is that the widespread media coverage of the Tory wobble has encouraged increasing numbers of voters to follow Gordon Brown’s advice to “take a second look at us and a long, hard look at them”.

ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie (interviewed by Sophie here) reports that Steve Hilton, Cameron’s strategy director, and Andy Coulson, his media Rottweiler, are now sharing an office in an effort to repair the Conservatives’ dysfunctional campaign. The Tories will have to hope these changes work. At the moment they show every sign of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

New Statesman poll of polls

New Statesman - Polls Guide_1268388460968

Conservatives 33 seats short of a majority.

Meanwhile, the latest Angus Reid survey for PoliticalBetting tells a completely different story. It puts the Conservatives up 1 point to 39 per cent, with Labour 13 points behind on 26 per cent. If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, the figures would bring Cameron to Downing Street with a majority of 50. Mike Smithson, our new polls columnist, looks at some of the possible reasons for this disparity here.

The anomalous Angus Reid survey means that the Tories’ lead over Labour in the New Statesman poll of polls rises to 6.6 per cent, a result that would leave Cameron 33 seats short of an overall majority.

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