by Stephen Tall on February 28, 2010
Today’s YouGov poll in the Sunday Times suggests the Tory lead over Labour has amost disappeared, and that Labour may even end up the largest party after the general election (which would reflect the exclusive LDV election prediction published here at the start of February).
Nor is today’s poll a flash-in-the-pan. None of the last 12 polls has shown the Tories reaching 40%, the psychologically crucial hurdle most feel they need to be able to clear to be sure of a working Commons majority. Only one of those polls has shown Labour below 30%, and – sigh of relief from Cowley Street – the Lib Dems appear not to be being significantly squeezed.
So, what is causing this serious dip in the Tory party’s fortunes? That’s the question Lib Dem Voice is asking today in our Twtpoll, already tweeted to our 1,651 @libdemvoice Twitter followers:
The poll closes tomorrow morning, and will be reported in our Monday morning Daily View 2×2.
For me, the main reason is as I suggested here three months ago:
… the Tories, and especially Mr Cameron, have lost sight of their strategy of detoxifying the brand. … the complacency of the Tory leadership [is] that they have done enough to convince the public the Tories have genuinely changed, and that it’s now safe again to revert to their true, Thatcherite type in order to unite the party.
What was once a depressingly effective Tory strategy of ‘love-bombing the Lib Dems’ – talk big on the environment, civil liberties and democratic reform while promising no policies – has been jettisoned in favour of throwing red meat to the right-wing (blaming ‘big government’ for the recession, and tax-breaks for marriage and millionaires). Thank God.
Instead of sticking to his guns, and determinedly staying the course in the moderate, centre-ground to reassure floating voters, Mr Cameron has felt it safe to shore up his core vote. In doing so, he has reminded those voters, who were slowly being won round to the notion that maybe this time it might be safe to vote Tory (and at the very least get rid of Labour and Mr Brown), that the party Mr Cameron leads is still the same old Tories.