She should be looking vulnerable, but her approval ratings are historicby Tom Clark / April 28, 2017 / Leave a comment
Perhaps I am being premature, but general election 2017 already strikes me as a tale of two inter-locking mysteries. The second, which I’ll return to in a later post, is why a Labour Party pumping out fairly standard Labour messages is faring quite so catastrophically. But the first, which I want to chew over here, is why Theresa May’s Tories are doing so breathtakingly well.
What do I mean by that? It is best not to regard polling as an exact science, as Britain learned in 2015 when the pre-election surveys were off by a fateful few percentage points. But when a party is consistently enjoying a double digit lead, and is in more polls than not 20-plus points ahead, it is bone-headed to pretend they are not doing well. And even if you are properly cautious about bumps up and down in individual surveys, May’s approval ratings still look pretty historic—Ipsos Mori, which has been asking about the best prime minister for 40 years, has just reported that the current PM’s score on this count is the highest on record, besting both post-Falklands Thatcher and honeymoon Blair.
If you still need convincing look at the real votes cast in the Copeland by-election, which I predicted a few months ago might prompt May to cut and run this Spring. Her result there was not just impressive, it smashed all recent records—it was the most remarkable drubbing of the main opposition party at the hands of the government since 1878.