Voters may have lost faith in Labour, but they are not transferring their affections to the Toriesby Peter Kellner / January 22, 2015 / Leave a comment
Read Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie’s advice for David Cameron
I have good news for David Cameron—and also a warning and some urgent advice.
The good news is that the Conservatives have opened up a clear lead when people are asked YouGov’s “forced choice” question—would they rather by governed by a Conservative government led by David Cameron or a Labour government led by Ed Miliband? In our New Year poll for Prospect, the Tories lead by 41 per cent to 36 per cent. This five point lead is the highest for two years.
It compares with a Labour lead of three points when the same people are asked our conventional voting intention question. The contrast between the two figures is explained largely by the views of UK Independence Party supporters, who divide 50-18 per cent in favour of the Tories. Doubtless, the Tories feel frustrated that so many of their past supporters have moved to Ukip. However, our figures suggest that the Tories may be able to win many of them back in the key marginals by stressing their message, “Vote Farage, get Miliband.”
Now for the warning. The Conservative lead in our forced choice question may have grown, but the level of support for the Tories has not grown. Apart from a brief dip, following 2012’s “omnishambles” budget, it has been a constant 40 per cent +/-1 for the past two years. Rather, support for Labour has declined, while the ranks of the don’t knows have swollen.
Tories lead Labour by 5 points—highest for two years
Level of Tory support has remained static for two years
Four/five negative statements about the Tories attracted overwhelming support
This is consistent with other YouGov evidence. Our conventional voting figures have seen Labour support drop from the low 40s a year or so ago to the low 30s today. Miliband’s reputation and Labour’s support have declined, but Cameron’s and the Conservatives’ figures have not improved. In short, many voters have lost faith in Labour but not transferred their affections to the Tories.
That helps to explain why Ukip, the Greens and the Scottish National Party all stand…