Sunday, 20 December 2009

Poll Talk

Those polls which had the Tory lead down to single figures and which caused much puzzled scratching of heads, finger biting at Conservative HQ and a smile on the face of Gordon Brown, are looking increasingly aberrant. The latest polls show a 12 point lead for the Tories and one for the Observer showing a 17 point lead.

The latter of these is significant, one because there was much chatter that this would show the Tory lead down to only 3 points and also because it is from IPSOS/MORI which showed that lead down to 6 points only recently.

So it may all have been down to rogue polls, blips call it what you will.

This has all had an impact however. It has concentrated Conservative minds and that can only be a good thing. It's thought that Cameron will be having a slight change of emphasis in the coming weeks and trying to project a more hopeful optimistic vision rather than just talk about the coming austerity. This is a good and sensible move in my view. We are also, we are told, going to see more policy announcements in the coming weeks.

And of course this may well silence any speculation about that March election that was gaining ground. May still looks the likeliest bet, although people will find themselves poorer from April onwards and conventional wisdom advises against elections after rather than before this happens.

There is also the very real danger of some kind of sovereign debt crisis blowing up and creating havoc. It doesn't have to start here, although we are on borrowed time after that disastrous PBR. If anything happens to a country like Greece it could come back on the UK and create a run on sterling or some other pressure on gilts. The longer they leave it until an election the likelier that becomes.

But, since we have the ditherer in Number 10, we are unlikely to know any time soon what is happening because it is most unlikely that Brown knows himself. As I have said many times, don't be surprised if we go all the way to June. Maybe Brown is praying for a national emergency so that he can plead for an election postponement. Judging from these latest polls that may be his best hope.

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