Friday, 26 September 2008

Mixed messages for Dave

So we head into the third of the party conferences with the Conservative lead over Labour reduced to a still comfortable ten points after a 'Brown bounce' from Labour's conference. Interestingly, the latest poll from Glenrothes show Labour and the SNP neck-and-neck. Labour have put up the head of the local secondary school who seems to be a tough cookie.

The latest Populus poll shows that just 56 of Conservatives supporters say that their vote is a positive one for the party, while 44 per cent say it is a vote against Labour. Of course, negative votes still count. However, 81 per cent of the Labour vote is positive and only 19 per cent against other parties. This suggests it is more solid, although that is not surprising when Labour has been largely reduced to its core vote.

Perhaps more interesting is that only 28 per cent of voters say that the Tories have changed much under Dave which suggests that there are limits to the 'decontamination effect'.

Dave has always warned his troops against complacency and has said that the phrase 'Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government' won't be used in Birmingham. It was, of course, one of the most foolish statements ever made in British politics.

Dave's speech will be a difficult balancing act: enthusing his activists, having a pop at Labour, but also reaching out to the broader electorate with a positive message about why they should vote Conservative.

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