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23 September 2010

Have the Tories got a poll boost from the Lib Dem conference?

Conservatives rise 4 points to 43 per cent in latest poll, with the Lib Dems on 14 per cent.

By George Eaton

All political parties usually get a poll bounce from their conference, but the Tories’ has come early this year. The latest daily YouGov poll puts them up 4 points to 43 per cent — their highest rating since the start of the month.

The Lib Dems, who are on 14 per cent, seem to have received a modest bounce — recent polls have shown them as low as 12 or 11 per cent — but given that they’re starting from such a low base it’s not particularly impressive. After last year’s conference, the Lib Dems rose as high as 25 per cent and leapfrogged Labour into second place.

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All of which raises the question: is it the Tories, rather than the Lib Dems, who have received a bounce from this week? The poll may, as Anthony Wells reminds us, be an outlier, but it’s true to say that the Lib Dem conference has reinforced the Tories’ core message about the deficit.

As Steve Richards argues in a very sharp column in today’s Independent, Vince Cable’s supposedly “rabble-rousing” speech was immensely helpful for David Cameron and George Osborne. The Business Secretary mounted an unambiguous defence of the coalition’s spending cuts and accused Labour of “deficit denial”.

Cable is, as he told the NS editor, Jason Cowley, at a fringe event this week, a born-again “deficit hawk”. Now, when the cuts start to bite, Cameron and Osborne can point out that even the coalition’s “communist” supports them.

And with Nick Clegg delivering Thatcher-type lectures on “household economics”, perhaps it’s not surprising that voters are inclined to support the real thing.