News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Monday, September 03, 2007

Brown bounce looking flat

I've said before that there's not much that we can take from opinion polls at the moment. The Brown Bounce was inevitable - the only surprise to me was that it was not very big compared to the Major Bounce in 1990. The latest polls are already suggesting that the bounce is on the wane, with ComRes putting Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck on 36% each (Labour down 1, Conservatives up 2, Lib Dems down 1).

The Lib Dems are still trailing in all the recent polls, with 13-15%. I suspect that there are various factors in their low rating. They've been pretty quiet over the summer and Ming still isn't making as much impact as either Kennedy or Ashdown managed, but I think that the main differences are outside his control - the change of Prime Minister has meant that Labout have dominated in terms of media attention, and has partly neutralised the issues which were driving traditional Labourites on the left to the Lib Dems. The impact of Iraq as an issue is also waning, as the invasion drifts out of peoples' immediate memories, and many people blamed Blair rather than Labour.

As for the Conservatives, there has been much talk of a lurch to the right. That's the spin that Labour are frantically applying, with the assistance of certain sections of the press, mostly on the left. On the other hand, others on the right are pointing to rising Conservative support to suggest that voters are coming back to the party with the tougher rhetoric. Personally, I don't particularly buy the claims of changing strategies. We all knew that there would be a Brown bounce, and I'm pretty sure that Conservative HQ will have expected much worse than we've actually seen. The phoney war against Blair was all about decontaminating the Conservative brand, so that people who were natural Conservatives but were turned off by the nasty image would sit up and listen to what we have to say. It seems that it could be working. The Conservative image is now much more positive than it has been for some time, and real Conservative policies like supporting the family and being tough on law and order are now coming to the fore. I'm certainly feeling quite positive about it all.

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