Another day, another poll. Yesterday it was bad news for the Tories and good news for Labour as ICM gave David Cameron’s party its lowest rating since the election.
Today it’s good news for Tories and bad news for Labour: a ComRes phone poll for the Independent puts the Conservatives back in front on 39 per cent, Labour on 36 per cent and the Lib Dems on 15 per cent.
On the plus side for new leader Ed Miliband, 36 per cent represents the highest poll figure — albeit by a single percentage point — ComRes has recorded for his party since the election, and the longer term trend among all pollster is that Labour is closing the gap on the Tories.
But in year’s past he would have expected to be the recipient of a significant post-conference bounce. Indeed in his write-up of today’s numbers, Mike Smithson automatically cautions “that polls taken during the conference should be treated with some care because of the heavy media coverage”.
Yet, there’s no bounce apparent this year, and Miliband is not alone.
A week and a half ago — two days after Nick Clegg’s keynote address — Lib Dems saw their rating barely shift, and there has been little sign since that the party’s week in the media spotlight has done them any good.
The Conservative Party conference, which kicks off in Birmingham tomorrow, has already been dubbed the “cuts conference”, and the suggestion is that this will be a downbeat affair to match the state of the country rather than a celebratory meeting for a party that has regained power for the first time in 13 years. This is hardly the tub-thumping environment to leave conference-goers, let alone the wider public, on a high.
We’ll get the first sense of whether that is indeed the mood as delegates gather on Sunday but it will be intriguing if to see if Cameron can buck this “bounceless” trend.